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International team of science gurus use lasers to detect blood clots

September 16, 2016, 18:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Scientists from the USA and Russia have succeeded in locating clots in blood vessels by means of a new laser technique

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© Vladimir Zinin /TASS

MOSCOW, September 16. /TASS/ Scientists from the USA and Russia have succeeded in locating clots in blood vessels by means of a new laser technique. The results of the study have been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

"We have shown, that the new method enables clots in the blood flow to be identified," - reported Alexander Melerzanov, the dean of the Faculty of Biological and Medical Physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technologies (MIPT). The developers believe the laser technique would be used to monitor the progress of existing and new blood clots during medical procedures and during post-op. In the future, this technique can also help prevent fatal thromboembolic complications at early stages.

Thromboembolism is the flow of a clot in a blood stream. Normally, clots are formed to obstruct the flow of blood, but it can also completely block the blood vessel, and this in turn can hinder blood circulation and eventually lead to death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 100-150 out of 100,000 people suffered from thromboembolism in 2014.

Despite the severity, these highly-sensitive methods of detecting thrombi (clots) still need improvement at present. Scientists decided to test the photoacoustic flow cytometry for detecting clots. To do so, cells are marked with fluorescent colors, and undergo laser irradiation, which prompts the color to start shining as a response.

During the course of the tests, the dye coloring the clots is injected into the blood of mice. Afterwards, the area under investigation is irradiated with a laser, which results in the dye shining and identifying the clots. Once the light is detected, special computer software is used to process the signal and plot graphs, which are used to make a diagnosis.

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