The noninvasive diagnostic, relies on nanoparticles that detect the presence of thrombin, a key blood-clotting factor.
Senior author of the paper, Sangeeta Bhatia from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Biochemistry, said that such a system could be used to monitor patients who are at high risk for blood clots.
Bhatia and her colleagues developed their new test based on a technology they first reported last year for early detection of colorectal cancer.
The system consists of iron oxide nanoparticles, which the Food and Drug Administration has approved for human use, coated with peptides (short proteins) that are specialized to interact with thrombin.
After being injected into mice, the nanoparticles travel throughout the body. When the particles encounter thrombin, the thrombin cleaves the peptides at a specific location, releasing fragments that are then excreted in the animals' urine.
Once the urine is collected, the protein fragments can be identified by treating the sample with antibodies specific to peptide tags included in the fragments. The researchers showed that the amount of these tags found in the urine is directly proportional to the level of blood clotting in the mice's lungs.
The study is published in the journal ACS Nano.
--ANI (Posted on 18-10-2013)