Making Blood Clots Visible to Treat

Blood clot diagram (Thrombus)Blood clot, we can all get them when we get injured, that is a healthy thing but blood clots becomes unhealthy if they happen inside the veins, that can be a big problem if not treated. Researchers have been trying different ways to find out about the clots before it starts making problems to the heart, the problem was to see them while they are small. A new procedure using nanoparticles could reveal the location of a blood clot within hours.

 Washington University School of Medicine Researches’ developed particles, that contain bismuth, a toxic heavy metal. Dr. Dipanjan Pan developed the nanoparticles, they become harmless by using a compound that prevents the bismuth atoms from running loose in the body. Another molecule added to the nanoparticles’ surface is attracted to fibrin, a particle found only in blood clots. The molecule draws the particles to the clots, where the bismuth shows up as a colored image on a new type of spectral CT scanner.

The use of  the full spectrum of the X-ray beam differentiate objects that would be indistinguishable with a regular CT scanner that sees only black and white.

Beyond locating blood clots, the technology could also be used to treat the ruptures in artery walls by sending nanoparticles with a healing agent to the weak spot in the artery.

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