Researchers from the University of Washington have developed PolySTAT, an injectable polymer that works immediately to strengthen blood clots. Data from the study has been published in Science Translational Medicine.

After it is injected, PolySTAT locates any internal or unseen injuries and binds fibrin strands together and adds cross-links to strengthen the latticework. Also, enzymes that dissolve blood clots do not target the synthetic PolySTAT bonds, which helps keep the clots intact. PolySTAT also strengthened clots even when the level of fibrin forming proteins were low. Because it only binds to fibrin at the wound site and not to any fibrin precursor that circulates through the body, PolySTAT is not expected to form clots that can lead to a stroke or embolism.

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In a study involving rats, 100% of the those injected with PolySTAT survived a typically fatal injury to the femoral artery vs. 20% of those treated with a natural protein that helps blood clots.

Future studies on larger animals and screening to find out if PolySTAT binds to any other unintended substances are needed. Human testing may happen in five years, researchers stated. The team also plans to study its potential for treating hemophilia and integration into bandages.

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