drugs are used to prevent platelet aggregation and can be used for
treating heart diseases.
- Scientists have
found a new and safer antiplatelet drug based on snake venom.
- The newly
designed molecule could help to prevent side effects like excessive
bleeding, which is observed in the antiplatelet drugs used at present.
A new and safer antiplatelet drug from
snake venom has been designed recently by a research team from the National
Antiplatelet drugs are
widely used to treat heart disease. They could help to prevent blood cells
called platelets from clumping together and forming blood clots. However, excessive
after injury is a serious side effect of current
‘A new antiplatelet drug from snake venom has been designed. It prevents excessive bleeding, a side effect associated with currently used drugs.’
The research team has
now designed a drug which could interact with protein glycoprotein VI (GPVI)
that is capable of sitting on the surface of the platelets.
The study was published
in an an American Heart Association journal, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis
and Vascular Biology.
Snake Venom to Develop
The research team found
that Trowaglerix, a protein in the venom of the Tropidolaemus waglerix
has the ability to stimulate platelets in the formation of blood clots by
Previous studies have
shown that platelets missing GPVI will not form blood clots in patients and may
not lead to severe bleeding. More recently, scientists thought that blocking
the GPVI could help to prevent blood clotting and also avoid the side effect of
Designing New Molecule
The research study is
the first to design a molecule that is based on the structure of trowaglerix to
block the GPVI activity.
The molecule was found
to prevent the platelets from clotting when it was mixed with blood. When the
new drug was administered to mice, it had a slower blood clot formation than
the untreated mice.
What are Platelets?
Platelets are born in
the bone marrow and are released into the circulating blood. Around an average
of trillion platelets survive for a week in an adult patient.
They are actually
capable of instantaneously plugging to the bleeding sites by sticking on to a
wound that becomes activated locally and then attracting other circulating
platelets to build an impermeable clump at the point of damage.
, used commonly to treat pain and fever,
was found to be effective for the treatment of heart attacks due to its action
antiplatelet drugs like abciximab is a monoclonal antibody that could act
against the platelet membrane protein (GP IIb/IIIa complex) which initiates
aggregation. This class of drugs is widely used for treating acute coronary
Another class of
antiplatelet drugs that were used are called ADP receptor antagonists like
to reduce the occlusion of coronary
The new drugs could help
to prevent vascular disease by improving or adding to the beneficial actions of
available antiplatelet drugs target another protein called glycoprotein
IIb/IIIa. These drugs were based on another protein that is found in the snake
venom. But the reason for excessive bleeding as a side effect is not fully
The novel molecule
designed from snake venom could be efficient in developing a new, safer class
of antiplatelet drugs with limited bleeding.
Further drug testing in
animals and humans is required before it can be used in patients.
Jane Tseng, Ph.D.,
director and professor at Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and
Bioinformatics and Drug Research Center at the National Taiwan University,
said, "In general, this type of molecule design does not last long in the
body, so techniques like formulation or delivery system are likely needed to
extend the exposure time in the human body."
"The design must
also be optimized to ensure that the molecule only interacts with GPVI and not
other proteins which can cause unintended reactions."
He also added that
efforts to improve the molecule's design are underway.
- Chien-Hsin Chang, Ching-Hu Chung, Yi-Shu Tu, Cheng-Chieh Tsai, Chun-Chieh Hsu, Hui-Chin Peng, Yufeng J. Tseng, Tur-Fu Huang et.al., 'Trowaglerix Venom Polypeptides As a Novel Antithrombotic Agent by Targeting Immunoglobulin-Like Domains of Glycoprotein VI in Platelet,' Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. (2017); https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308604
- Antiplatelet Therapy - (http://www.hematology.org/About/History/50-Years/1525.aspx)