Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers have found a way to unclog obstructed blood vessels that lead to heart attacks and strokes. These obstructions can lead to shear stress, "attracting platelets that form blood clots." The body contains natural clot producing mechanisms, and scientists “used an approved clot-targeting therapy called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, and found that the system allowed for use of less than one-fiftieth the normal dose to dissolve clots.” Medicines used in hospitals to unclog vessels are given in larger doses, which cause serious side effects like excessive bleeding. The drug delivery method “called shear-activated nanotherapeutics, is a bundle of tiny drug-coated particles that travel together until they reach the obstruction, when the shear stress causes them to break apart and attack clots.” The low dosage required will allow more patients to be treated with the medicine. 

What’s the Big Idea?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease and stroke is one of the leading causes of death among Americans. Scientists have found ways to target platelets that form blood clots due to a force of shear stress, by the use of a low-dose drug delivery method that activates when the condition takes place. Researchers believe the system could possibly be used to deliver any drug for various diseases. However, only mice have been tested and it will be years before trial studies will be conducted on humans.