Chemists develop contaminant detection technique for heparin

In 2008, a contaminant eluded the quality safeguards in the pharmaceutical industry and infiltrated a large portion of the supply of the popular blood thinner heparin, sickening hundreds and killing about 100 in the U.S.

Toward an improved test for adulterated heparin

Scientists are reporting refinement of a new test that promises to help assure the safety of supplies of heparin, the blood thinner taken by millions of people worldwide each year to prevent blood clots. The test can quickly ...

Nanoscience may hold key to surgical recovery

(PhysOrg.com) -- New nano-systems developed in York may eventually help patients recover from surgery without the danger of allergic reactions to drugs.

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Heparin

Heparin (from Ancient Greek ηπαρ (hepar), liver), also known as unfractionated heparin, a highly sulfated glycosaminoglycan, is widely used as an injectable anticoagulant, and has the highest negative charge density of any known biological molecule. It can also be used to form an inner anticoagulant surface on various experimental and medical devices such as test tubes and renal dialysis machines.

Although it is used principally in medicine for anticoagulation, its true physiological role in the body remains unclear, because blood anti-coagulation is achieved mostly by heparan sulfate proteoglycans derived from endothelial cells. Heparin is usually stored within the secretory granules of mast cells and released only into the vasculature at sites of tissue injury. It has been proposed that, rather than anticoagulation, the main purpose of heparin is defense at such sites against invading bacteria and other foreign materials. In addition, it is conserved across a number of widely different species, including some invertebrates that do not have a similar blood coagulation system.

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