SEP 17, 2020 7:30 AM PDT

Blood Vessels on a Chip Test Clotting

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

Blood clotting, also known as coagulation, is a critical biological mechanism to prevent excessive blood loss in the event of an injury to a blood vessel. During this complex process, a cascade of biochemical reactions occurs in which platelets and plasma in the blood solidify into a clot, patching up the site of injury. Too little and it can cause hemorrhaging, such as in patients with hemophilia, and too much can cause strokes, deep vein thrombosis, and other life-threatening conditions. The challenge is being able to quantify coagulation in patients both from a clinical perspective as well as for developing target drugs to either enhance or reduce clotting.

Biomedical engineers have made a breakthrough in the field, inventing a microfluidic device that mirrors the intricate structures of the vasculature, giving clinicians the power to analyze the coagulation potential of a blood sample faster, more efficiently, and at a much lower cost than existing technologies. 

The scientists from Texas A&M University designed the device to mimic the curves, twists, and turns of a blood vessel such as a capillary or vein in the body. These structural features play a role in influencing how blood clots naturally, with the device staying true to the fluid dynamics of blood moving through a vessel. Current protocols for studying coagulation rely on the chemistry behind these clotting mechanisms, which, as the researchers explain, can lead to inaccuracies in the results.

Abhishek Jain, one of the scientists involved in the study explained: “They do not incorporate the flow through the natural turning and twisting blood vessels. Therefore, the readouts from these current static systems are not highly predictive, and often result in false positives or false negatives.”

The team has used blood samples from a cohort of patients using an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine to test out their device, with promising results. This form of therapy spikes the risk of blood clotting in these patients. The authors see this type of technology coming to the forefront of clotting diagnostics in the future.

“The margin for error is essentially zero for these patients,” said Jain. “Therefore, it’s imperative that all the tests, not just clotting tests, must work and provide clinicians with quick and reliable information about their patients so they can provide the best care possible.”

 

Sources: Scientific Reports, Texas A&M Today.


 

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
APR 13, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
A Color-Changing "Invisible Tattoo" for Long-Term Health Monitoring
APR 13, 2021
A Color-Changing "Invisible Tattoo" for Long-Term Health Monitoring
German researchers have developed an innovative method for continuously tracking and monitoring biomarkers and drugs cir ...
MAY 31, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Researchers Create the First Saliva Wiki
MAY 31, 2021
Researchers Create the First Saliva Wiki
A new digital platform, developed by researchers at the University at Buffalo, is answering the question: what’s o ...
JUN 16, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Rapid Screening Tool Provides Insights on Brain Health
JUN 16, 2021
Rapid Screening Tool Provides Insights on Brain Health
Scientists at King’s College London have identified a single biomarker that can be used to diagnose a range of neu ...
JUL 29, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
A low-cost drug for the treatment of hepatitis.
JUL 29, 2021
A low-cost drug for the treatment of hepatitis.
      The viral disease, Hepatitis C, is known as a silent killer. Hepatitis C is easily spread thro ...
AUG 31, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Five Questions to Help You Select the Best Cellular Stain
AUG 31, 2021
Five Questions to Help You Select the Best Cellular Stain
Cellular stains are organic fluorescent dyes or fluorescent conjugates designed to localize to a specific organelle or c ...
SEP 16, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
A shot for sore eyes: a novel injectable drug to treat age-related vision loss
SEP 16, 2021
A shot for sore eyes: a novel injectable drug to treat age-related vision loss
According to the Population Reference Bureau, 40 million people in the United States are aged 65 and older. This nu ...
Loading Comments...