Development of a new synthetic material that promises to aid the natural process of blood clotting and the emergency treatment of traumatic injuries was reported on recently in the research journal Nature Materials.
ASU biomedical engineer Sarah Stabenfeldt was on the team of physicians, scientists and engineers that created the new class of synthetic platelet-like particles, which are based on soft hydrogel materials.
Stabenfeldt, a co-first author of the paper in Nature Materials, is an assistant professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering.
The new particles are proving to be effective in slowing bleeding and circulating safely in the bloodstream. The advancement could potentially help reduce the number of deaths from excessive bleeding, according the lead author of the paper.
Stabenfeldt’s role in the research focused on fibrin, a protein that is critical in the blood clotting process. It forms a fibrous mesh that helps impede blood flow.
She identified a unique single-chain antibody fragment that specifically recognizes polymerized fibrin – the fibrin mesh found in blood clots.
The antibody fragment was then attached to the synthetic hydrogel particles to enable specific interaction with native fibrin clots that ultimately enhanced the effectiveness of the clotting process by decreasing the time it took for blood to clot.
“To achieve this targeting specificity,” she explained, “I used a molecular biology technique known as phage display, which is essentially using biological machinery to screen a large array of biological motifs to identify the motif with the highest affinity and specificity to your target of interest.”
In her ASU lab, Stabenfeldt has been using the same phage display screening process to identify novel targeting motifs in her research to improve the detection and diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries.
Her collaborators on the overall project reported on in Nature Materials included researchers at Georgia Tech, Chapman University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University.
Read about the research in Nature Materials. Read a news release about the research paper.