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PostPosted: 24 Sep 2015 01:22 
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We all know blood clots can trigger a heart attack or a stroke. Locating a clot and treating the patient can sometimes be difficult and may involve multiple tests. Now, researchers report a method based on rats trial that could help health care providers to quickly scan to detect blood clot.

Peter Caravan, Ph.D., says, “Patients could end up being scanned multiple times by multiple techniques in order to locate a clot. We sought a method that could detect blood clots anywhere in the body with a single whole-body scan.”

In his earlier work, Caravan’s team at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital discovered a peptide that binds specifically to fibrin — an insoluble protein fiber found in blood clots. In the present study, they developed a blood clot probe by attaching a radionuclide to the peptide. It is reported that radionuclides can be detected anywhere in the body by "PET" (positron emission tomography) scan. The team used different radionuclides and peptides, as well as different chemical groups for linking the radionuclide to the peptide, to figure out which combination would give the brightest PET signal in blood clots. Eventually, they constructed and tested 15 candidate blood clot probes.

First the researchers analyzed how well each probe bound to fibrin in a test tube, and then they studied how well the probe detected blood clots in rats.

“The probes all had a similar affinity to fibrin in vitro, but, in rats, their performances were quite different,” Caravan says. “Of course, the big question is, ‘How well will these perform in patients?’

Caravan explains that the group is hoping to start testing the probe in human patients in the fall, but it could take an additional five years of research before the probe is approved for routine use in a clinical setting.

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