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Smart Patch Prevents Thrombosis in Animal Model

The thrombin-responsive microneedle patch is made of heparin-modified hyaluronic acid.

The thrombin-responsive microneedle patch is made of heparin-modified hyaluronic acid.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has developed a smart patch designed to monitor a patient’s blood and release blood-thinning drugs as needed to prevent the occurrence of dangerous blood clots—a condition known as thrombosis. In an animal model, the patch was shown to be more effective at preventing thrombosis than traditional methods of drug delivery. The work was done by researchers at NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Thrombosis occurs when blood clots disrupt the normal flow of blood in the body, which can cause severe health problems such as pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke. Current treatments often rely on the use of blood thinners, such as heparin, which require patients to test their blood on a regular basis in order to ensure proper dosages. Too large a dose can cause problems such as spontaneous hemorrhaging, while doses that are too small may not be able to prevent a relapse of thrombosis.

“Our goal was to generate a patch that can monitor a patient’s blood and release additional drugs when necessary; effectively, a self-regulating system,” says Zhen Gu, co-corresponding author on a paper describing the work. Gu is an associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC.

This article was originally published by NC State News.