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Study Aims To Simplify Life Saving Drug

Update Date: Oct 30, 2014 10:16 AM EDT

A team of researchers is set out to make Heparin - life saving blood thinner used in major surgeries - use a lot safer by developing a universal antidote. 

Heparin's blood thinning action requires an antidote to reverse its effect before serious bleeding issues arise. 

It is often complicated to find an approved drug that reverses the blood thinning effect of heparin as there are about dozen approved heparin products on the market. 

Researchers sough to find a simple solution: a synthetic antidote that works with all heparins used in clinics today. 

Researchers developed a universal heparin antidote, whose success in small animal testing is considered a fundamental breakthrough for both cardiothoracic surgery and the treatment of anticoagulant-related bleeding problems.

"Heparin is the second most prescribed drug after insulin," said lead researcher Jayachandran Kizhakkedathu, in the press release. "Our universal heparin antidote addresses an unmet clinical need. It has potential to benefit all patients undergoing high-risk surgical procedures and treating bleeding complications."

Kizhakkedathu, a Michael Smith Foundation Health Research Scholar with UBC's Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, Centre for Blood Research and the Department of Chemistry says a synthetic drug offers consistency in health effects and performance, the press release added. 

He added that it also avoids possible immunological reactions sometimes associated with antidotes with biological origin.

The study was carried out at University of British Columbia.

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