Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemists move closer toward developing safer, fully-synthetic form of heparin

19.08.2008
Chemists are reporting a major advance toward developing a safer, fully-synthetic version of heparin, the widely used blood thinner now produced from pig intestines.

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration last spring linked contaminated batches of the animal-based product, imported from China, to more than 80 deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions among patients exposed to the drug for kidney dialysis and other conditions.

Described here today at the ACS's 236th National Meeting, the purer, non-animal version could improve the drug's safety and bolster regulatory control of its manufacture, the researchers say. Scientists expect demand for heparin, which prevents blood clots, to increase in the future due to rising rates of diabetes, heart disease, and other health complications linked to sedentary lifestyles. Global heparin sales total about $4 billion annually.

"With the problems associated with contaminated heparin produced from pig tissues in China, a non-animal source of this essential drug is gaining importance," says study co-author Robert J. Linhardt, Ph.D., a chemist with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. "A safer version of the drug could result in less adverse effects and fewer deaths."

Heparin can be given by injection to prevent life-threatening blood clots during heart surgery and kidney dialysis. It also is used to clean intravenous lines used in those procedures. Because heparin is difficult to make in the lab from scratch, the drug's only source has been from pig intestines.

Linhardt points out that processing of pig intestines to extract the raw materials is often done in small, family-run workshops in China, which supplies about 70 percent of the world's heparin. Those mom-and-pop shops often fall outside the normal supervision and regulatory control standard in the pharmaceutical industry. The lack of oversight increases the risks of heparin contamination or adulteration with harmful chemicals, viruses, or other agents, he says.

"If heparin is prepared the right way, it should be consistent and safe, even from an animal source," says Linhardt, who was part of the team that identified the suspected chemical contaminant in the Chinese heparin. The contaminant, called oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. Heparin supplies containing the contaminant have now been recalled.

Researchers have been trying for years to develop heparin production methods that don't require pig intestines. The first so-called total synthesis of heparin, developed in 2003 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was not practical. It produced only minute batches of heparin — less than 0.000000035 ounces at a time — and could not be scaled up for commercial use, Linhardt says.

Working with Jian Liu, Ph.D., a medicinal chemist with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Jonathan Dordick, Ph.D., a Rensselaer chemical engineer, Linhardt's team now has developed an alternative synthesis method that boosts heparin production a million times higher than the MIT technique. The scientists employed a patented biotechnology approach that uses powerful enzymes to string together the individual carbohydrate units that form the pure heparin polymer. "Our biotech version of heparin will be prepared in a controlled environment ensuring that it is pure and free of contaminants," Linhardt says.

So far, only small amounts of the new heparin have been produced in the laboratory using this technique, called "chemoenzymatic synthesis." But Linhardt reports that the new approach can be used to produce the drug on a larger scale suitable for industrial manufacture. Cost, dosing, and administration of the new drug should be the same as conventional, animal-based heparin, he notes.

Linhardt plans to begin testing the synthetic heparin on animals this summer. If these and other tests are successful, the new heparin could reach the consumer market in two to five years, he estimates. The National Institutes of Health provided primary funding for the project.

Charmayne Marsh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers find new mutation in the leptin gene
24.06.2019 | Texas Biomedical Research Institute

nachricht Straight to the heart
24.06.2019 | Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IDMT demonstrates its method for acoustic quality inspection at »Sensor+Test 2019« in Nürnberg

From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.

Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

'Sneezing' plants contribute to disease proliferation

24.06.2019 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Researchers find new mutation in the leptin gene

24.06.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>