Graphene's Newest Trick Is Fighting Deadly Blood Clots

Illustration for article titled Graphene's Newest Trick Is Fighting Deadly Blood Clots

Man, graphene is shaping up to be a real wonder-material (if it can make it out of the lab and into the real world). Chalk up another future use: a coating that eliminates blood clotting in medical devices by kickstarting the body's natural clot-fighting mechanism that lasts way longer than anti-clotting drugs. Cool!

Advertisement

In a paper published in this week's Nature Communications, researchers explained how molecules of hemin and an enzyme called glucose oxidase can be mounted on a one-atom-thick graphene lattice. When it contacts the blood stream, the active molecules in this coating react with sugars in the blood to kick off production of nitroxyl, a substance with natural anti-clotting properties.

So what's the benefit of this wonder-coating? In testing, a plastic film coated with this material effectively eliminated clotting for three days—by comparison, standard anti-clotting drugs require multiple doses a day to maintain therapeutically effective levels. Controlling clot formation on synthetic surfaces, like artificial heart valves or the tubing used for dialysis, is a major concern. Effectively blocking clotting with a super-thin coating that doesn't need to be replenished could mean less complications and a reduced need for blood thinning drugs.

Of course, as with all things graphene, there's a long road separating the laboratory from general use. You won't be seeing graphene-coated medical equipment any time in the near future. But if this technique pans out, perhaps every hospital device will pack the power of graphene. [Nature Communications via TheScientist]

Image: Teng Xue and Nathan Weiss

DISCUSSION

someonesomeonecalls
someonesomeonecalls

This is the same graphene that this very site posted an article about here that talks about the possible toxicity of graphene to people?