Scientists in Poland are reporting development of a potential new way to quickly remove the anticoagulant heparin from patients' blood in order to avoid unwanted side effects that can happen with the current use of that blood thinner.
Their new polymer material will be described in the December 8 issue of ACS' Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal.
In the new study, Krzysztof Szczubialka and colleagues point out doctors often want to remove heparin from the blood of patients undergoing surgery or other procedures immediately after completing the procedure. Leaving the heparin alone could lead to unwanted bleeding.
Doctors now eliminate heparin by giving patients protamine, a drug that stops heparin's anticoagulant effects. However, they are seeking a better drug because protamine carries a risk of serious side effects.
The scientists describe development of a potential new approach that involves use of microscopic beads of a polymer made from modified chitosan, a material obtained from shellfish. In laboratory tests, the beads reduced concentrations of heparin to nearly zero within 10 minutes.
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