Nanoparticles could stop blood-clot-caused strokes and heart attacks

Researchers have developed magnetic nanoparticles that in tests delivered drugs to destroy blood clots 1000 times faster than a commonly used clot-busting technique. If the system performs similarly well in human clinical trials, it could mean a major step forward in the prevention of strokes and heart attacks.
“We have designed the nanoparticles so that they trap themselves at the site of the clot, which means they can quickly deliver a burst of the commonly used clot-busting drug tPA where it is most needed,” said Paolo Decuzzi, Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the study reported in Advanced Functional Materials. Decuzzi leads the Houston Methodist Research Institute Dept. of Translational Imaging.
In experiments with human blood and mouse clotting models, Decuzzi’s group coated iron oxide nanoparticles in albumin, a protein found naturally in blood. The albumin provides a sort of camouflage, giving the loaded nanoparticles time to reach their blood clot target before the body’s immune system recognizes the nanoparticles as invaders and attacks them.
The researchers chose iron oxide for the core because they plan to use the nanoparticles for magnetic resonance imaging, remote guidance with external magnetic fields, and for further accelerating clot dissolution with localized magnetic heating.