The clock starts ticking seconds after a traumatic injury. Medics often refer to the first 60 minutes as the “golden hour’’—the window of time during which the chances of survival are highest if prompt treatment arrives.
New research from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine shows that adding specially designed nanoparticles to blood platelets nearly doubles the survival rate within that crucial first hour.
“We knew an injection of these nanoparticles stopped bleeding faster, but now we know the bleeding stopped in time to increase survival following trauma,” says Erin Lavik, ScD, Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering.
Traumatic injuries easily overwhelm the body’s natural clotting process. Lavik and her team have been developing synthetic, injectable platelets that first responders and battlefield medics could use to help the body’s own cells slow or halt internal bleeding until a patient reaches a hospital.
The biodegradable polymer nanoparticles are designed to zero in on injuries and stick to the natural platelets, forming clots faster. Biologic models injected with the nanoparticles demonstrated a one-hour survival rate of 80 percent. The rate dropped to 47 percent in the control group.
Researchers are continuing to test the platelets, working toward the best design and dosage for humans.