June 9, 2009

Researchers solve blood clotting mystery

Harvard University medical scientists say they've used single molecule manipulation to identify the molecular basis for the regulation of blood clotting.

The researchers said they identified a fundamental feedback mechanism that the body uses to regulate the clotting of blood. The scientists said their finding, which could lead to a new physical quantitative and predictive model of how the body works to respond to injury, has implications for the treatment of bleeding disorders.

A team co-led by Professor Timothy Springer and researcher Wesley Wong said the discovery identifies the molecular basis for the feedback loop responsible for hemostasis.

The human body has an incredible ability to heal from life's scrapes and bruises, said Wong. A central aspect of this response to damage is the ability to bring bleeding to end, a process known as hemostasis. Yet regulating hemostasis is a complex balancing act.

The study's finding of how the body achieves hemostasis is detailed in the journal Science.