London, Feb 16 : Scientists have developed a new technique that allows them to measure blood clotting as well as the formation of free radicals, that leads to the build-up of blood clots, which in turn cause heart disease, stroke and dementia.
The technique, led by the University of Exeter researchers, investigates a part of the blood clotting process which focuses on the ways in which platelets from blood samples clump together.
"This method may be useful for future studies looking into new anti-platelet treatments for diseases such as diabetes, where clotting is disturbed and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke," according to the study detailed in the Haematologica journal.
The researchers discovered that the enzyme NADPH Oxidase is critically important for the generation of free radicals, the stimulation of blood clotting and the promotion of blood vessel damage in patients.
They successfully used the technique in mice and human cells.
Their aim is to better understand how blood cells function, which will help to develop new drugs against blood clotting diseases or to test the risk of clotting diseases in patients.
"We're really excited to discover this new technique and its potential to understand how blood vessel diseases develop.
For the first time, we can now simultaneously measure blood clotting and the formation of free radicals," said lead author Giordano Pula, from the Exeter Medical School.
"We know they play a key role in blood vessel damage caused by ageing, diabetes, obesity and chronic inflammation.
We're currently using this technique in our efforts to develop a new treatment to protect the blood vessels in diseases such as heart diseases, stroke, obesity, and vascular dementia," Pula added.