A number of antiplatelet drugs are already available on the market, but their effects are not easily reversible. This means that patients are at risk of uncontrolled bleeding. And if they have to undergo surgery because of their condition, they need to stop treatment for up to a week before surgery, which increases the risk of developing blood clots. However, researchers at Harvard University have developed a drug-free, reversible antiplatelet therapy that uses deactivated "decoy" platelets that can be initiated and reversed immediately.
The decoys are made from existing human platelets, which have been removed by centrifugation and detoxification detergents, while adhesive proteins remain on their surfaces. They bind to other cells that naturally occur in the bloodstream but, because they have been deactivated, can not initiate the coagulation process. When added to normal human blood, the entire coagulation process is essentially diluted so that normal healing processes can take place without the risk of excessive coagulation.
As Anne-Laure Papa, the paper's first author, explains, "In contrast to normal, intact platelets, decoys can not bind to the vessel wall and are likely to interfere with the ability of normal platelets to bind Imagining this would be that the decoys move fast-moving skaters along the wall of a skater. The rink and its high speed prevent other skaters from getting to the wall so they can slow down and cling to it. "[1
So far, the therapy has been tested only on rabbits and mice, but the team is confident results could be replicated in humans. Papa's lab is now working to make sure that the decoys stay in the blood longer to increase efficacy, and to see if they can be loaded with drugs to deliver therapies right at the sites of blood clots and tumors, or possibly even circulating tumor cells in killing the bloodstream altogether.