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Busting blood clots with a nanoparticle

Experimental drug delivery may improve heart attack treatment

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5:26pm, November 15, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. — Nanosized gobs containing a blood clot–dissolving drug can seek out trouble spots in the body and break down blockages responsible for heart attacks, Japanese researchers reported November 14 at a meeting of the American Heart Association. The microscopic packaging seems to improve the drug’s potency and might limit its main drawback — a risk of internal bleeding — by focusing its effect at the clot.

Although the technology has been tested only in pigs, some doctors find the early results intriguing. “This could be a tremendous step forward,” said Roger Blumenthal, a cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. If it tests well in people, he said, this controllable form of the clot-busting drug, called tPA, might be a boon for heart attack patients in remote areas that lack hospitals equipped to deliver the highest standard of care for heart attacks.

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