When someone gets an open wound or injury, one of the first things the body does is try to stop the flow of blood. The body does this by forming clots that turn the blood from liquid to gel to plug the wound and stop the body from bleeding out. If this clotting doesn't happen right away, it makes further treatment and healing of the wound more difficult or impossible. To help with the clotting process, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have created nanoparticles that resemble blood platelets that can be used to speed up the healing process and create clots faster to decrease blood loss from an injury.
Blood platelets bind together to form a clot that is able to block a wound to stop bleeding. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Researchers from the UCSB Department of Chemical Engineering and the Center for Bioengineering recently created nanoparticles that copy the shape, surface biology, and flexibility of natural platelets found in the body. These new nanoparticles are able to speed up healing in the body while also showing that it may be possible to customize treatments for patients with different injuries by using customized nanoparticles to help with the healing process.
When an injury occurs, platelets in the body naturally leave the main blood flow to cling to the wall of the blood vessel and bind with other platelets to block the site of the injury and stop blood from leaving the wound. However, some injuries are too severe for these platelets to block and some medications stop coagulation from occurring, rendering this natural response of coagulation useless.
These new nanoparticles that act like platelets are able to be put in the blood stream to work like natural platelets to initiate the healing process when the body's own platelets are unable to. This can help control emergency situations and heal patients faster. It also presents the possibility of creating new therapies, treatments and medications that can be used to help with specific medical conditions. For example, these nanoparticle platelets could be designed to carry antibiotics that could fight bloodborne pathogens. or they could be designed to target places where clots are forming without causing further bleeding.
UCSB is a highly acclaimed research institution along the pacific coast (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
The University of California, Santa Barbara is a growing research institution with new life science research projects and funding received every year. In the 2014 fiscal year, UCSB received $17,958,079 in total NIH funding. The top 5 departments to receive the most funding were:
- Biochemistry - $4,817,888
- Engineering - $3,549,674
- Psychology - $2,490,360
- Neurosciences - $2,049,575
- Chemistry - $2,033,893
These awards are used to support a wide variety of research projects:
- The NIH awarded UCSB researchers a grant of $2.27 million over 5 years to study the relationships of misfolded proteins, oligomers or fibrous deposits to disease-related effects, and address a significant biomedical problem of developing rational treatments and earlier diagnosis strategies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
- UCSB researchers received a $1.7 million NIH grant to study the synthesis of bioactive marine natural products.
- A UCSB researcher received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to explore anastasis, a new cell survival process.
- The UCSB Marine Science Institute received two multi-year grants totaling over $1 million to further study kelp and coral reefs, where two separate teams will tackle various aspects of the research.
If you are a scientific supply company interested in marketing your lab equipment to researchers at UCSB, consider attending Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.'s 6th annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at UCSB in March, 2015. This event gives you the chance to meet with active life science researchers who are interested in finding new products and technologies to use in their labs to help further their research. Visit the link below to get more funding stats about UCSB and to learn more about exhibiting in Santa Barbara in 2015.
If you are a UCSB researcher interested in attending the March, 2015 vendor show, visit the link below to pre-register for the event to save yourself time at the door the day of the show.