Graphene-based material prevents blood clots

Blood-based and sugar-based enzymes, shown as the larger background molecules, are attached to graphene (white mesh) to provide ingredients for a chemical reaction that produces anti-clotting agents called nitroxyls, which appear as the smaller foreground molecules in this illustration.   

Teng Xue and Nathan Weiss

Blood clotting is helpful to seal up a scrape. But platelet buildup can be dangerous during certain medical procedures such as dialysis. Now, a new graphene-based material could keep blood flowing.

The material — made of blood-based and sugar-based enzymes attached to graphene, a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon — can produce hydrogen peroxide from blood sugar. The hydrogen peroxide then gets converted into small anticlotting molecules called nitroxyls. When researchers coated a plastic film with the new material, clotting was greatly reduced, and the effect persisted even after three days.

Coating blood-contacting devices with the new material may prevent clotting in medical procedures,  researchers report February 11 in Nature Communications

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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