Slowing the production of clot-forming platelets may protect against heart attack and stroke without the risk of excessive bleeding posed by aspirin and other anti-clotting medications, scientists report. The new study, in which an antibody is used to limit the outflow of clot-forming platelets from the bone marrow in baboons, appears in the June 23 Science Translational Medicine.
Preventing blood clots is a delicate business. Clots lodged in arteries are responsible for most strokes and heart attacks, which is why many people take aspirin or prescription drugs — to make platelets less likely to bind to a protein called fibrin and form a clot.
But clotting also serves a life-saving purpose by stanching bleeding from a wound, internal or external. Reducing clotting too zealously places a person at risk of bleeding to death.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.