Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) have created a synthetic form of Heparin (blood thinning medication) noted the journal, Nature Chemical Biology. Since the late 1930s, Heparin has been used as an anticoagulant (blood thinner), and is most commonly extracted from pig intestines. It prevents blood clots from forming and is most often used during and after such procedures as dialysis by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients, heart bypass surgery, stent implantation, and knee and hip replacement. Its side effects can include uncontrolled bleeding and thrombocytopenia (too few platelets in the blood). This new synthetic version of Heparin can decrease risks and side effects of the naturally developed drug.
Recommended Reading: Is Use of Heparin in Dialysis as Safe as Dialysis without Heparin?
"Whenever you mix the food chain and the drug chain together, you end up with potential for disaster," said leading researchers. The natural form of the Heparin was in the spotlight in spring 2008 when more than 80 people died and hundreds of others suffered adverse reactions to the drug, leading to recalls of Heparin in countries around the world. Authorities linked the outbreak to a contaminant in raw natural Heparin from China.
Whether it comes from contamination, viruses, prions (infectious protein particles), or other adulterations (impurities) any drug including Heparin is much more dangerous when you make it in an uncontrolled environment. Robert Linhardt, lead researcher and one of the inventors of the new drug said, "The synthetic version that we've made is reversible, it can be used in renal patients, and it doesn't come from animals, which is a critical advance in safety."
Up to 5 percent of patients receiving heparin experience some form of uncontrolled bleeding. Naturally produced Heparin is cleared from the body by the kidneys, which can make it more dangerous for patients with a weakened renal system, a relatively common condition among patients requiring anticoagulation. The new changes allow the synthetic version of the drug to bind to receptors that clear through the liver; making it safer for dialysis patients.
Recommended Reading: Eliminating The Serious Concern Of Blood Clots For Those With Chronic Kidney Disease
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Martialay, Mary L. "Researchers Create Synthetic Version of Heparin for Use in Kidney Patients." Http://medicalxpress.com/. Medical Xpress.
"Synthetic Version of Heparin Created for Use in Kidney Patients." Http://www.sciencedaily.com/. ScienceDaily.