A team of researchers from University of California Santa Barbara, Scripps Research Institute and Sanford-Burnham Institute, La Jolla, has announced that they have managed to develop synthetic platelets which they hope could be used for a number of biomedical applications.
Their findings are published in the journal Advanced Materials in a paper titled "Platelet Mimetic Particles for Targeting Thrombi in Flowing Blood."
Platelets are the components of blood that allow it to prevent excessive bleeding and to heal wounds. The unique physical and biochemical properties of platelets play an important role in performing these complex biological tasks. Smaller than red blood cells, platelets are flexible, disk-shaped cells that are 2-4 micrometers in size.
"Upon further optimization and exhaustive testing, the synthetic platelets could be used for various biomedical applications," said the paper's first author Nishit Doshi, a researcher from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
The challenge Doshi and colleagues faced was to develop a comparably sized particle -- roughly 1/50th of the diameter of a strand of hair -- that had key structural properties of real platelets.