Novel therapy dissolves blood clots 4000 times faster than traditional thrombosis treatments.
Researchers were recently able to create a drug that has the potential to specifically target blood clots.
Thrombosis is a potentially life threatening condition that does not have an effective treatment. Thrombolysis is not successful in a majority of patients, since it is not targeted and effects all blood vessels in the body, not just the vessel with the blood clot.
"Now, we are using a sledge-hammer to crack a nut. Dissolving a little blood clot that blocked a vessel of only 1-2 mm in diameter, thrombolytic drugs negatively affect the entire network of blood vessels,” said researcher Ivan Dudanov. “In order to change the situation, we decided to develop a method of targeted drug delivery that would allow us to considerably reduce the dosage and ensure that the whole therapeutic effect is focused on the clot.”
In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers created a composite material made of a magnetite framework and urokinase, which is used as a thrombolytic agent. Investigators found the drug is able to coat artificial blood vessels, and can be localized near the clot with the help of a magnetic field.
This framework protects the enzymes from inhibitors that typically stop thrombolytic medications from being effective, the researchers wrote.
"Usually, in order to achieve a prolonged effect for such drugs, the enzyme is placed inside a polymeric matrix. The enzyme is then gradually released from the matrix and eventually loses all activity,” said study first author Andrey Drozdov, MSc. “We, on the other hand, experimentally demonstrated that enzymes protected using our approach do not lose therapeutic properties over extended periods of time and even after repeated use. The rate, at which the new drug can dissolve the clot outperforms unprotected enzymes by about 4000 times."
Researchers believe this material will be safe for humans since it is composed of materials that have already been approved for injection. They further state that the composite could potentially be used for prevention as well, since small amounts of the drug could be used to clean the blood vessels over time.
"In this phase of our project, we have demonstrated how the concept we developed works for more specific objects. We prepared a thrombolytic colloid and tested its effects on an artificial blood clots obtained from plasma and blood of humans, and thrombus extracted from patients,” concluded researcher Vladimir Vinogradov. “The results may soon allow us to try out the new thrombolytic system on mammals. Now we are preparing for preclinical studies.”