Researchers in the United States have discovered a new technique to spot blood clots.
Current methods to identify and locate blood clots focus on individual parts of the body, but this method uses a probe which scans the entire body and pinpoints the location of large and small blood clots by sticking to them so they can be lit up in a PET scan – a scan used to produce detailed three-dimensional images of the inside of the body. It consists of a small peptide molecule that binds to the clot protein fibrin, coupled to a radioactive “label” that can be detected in the scanner. From a single injection the hope is that the probe will travel through the body and find clots anywhere. The technique has been successfully tested on rats and will be tested on humans later this year.
The potential for this new technique has been recognised by Mr Peter Caravan, a research chemist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who said that in many cases the blood clots that cause strokes and heart attacks are usually small pieces broken off from a larger clot somewhere else in the body. This new technique should be able to identify such small clots.
The regulatory agencies are yet to authorise this technique, however, it is thought that it could save a number of lives if approved in the future.
Moosa-Duke Solicitors welcomes the introduction of such an innovative idea, as they have dealt with a number of cases where the failure to identify a blood clot has had either devastating or fatal consequences.