Platelet substitutes and novel platelet products
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Despite many advances in the safety, processing and storage of conventional 22 degrees C liquid-stored allogeneic platelet concentrates, there are still significant drawbacks to standard platelet concentrates used in transfusions for patients with thrombocytopenia. Efforts to overcome these shortcomings have been undertaken in both academic and commercial settings, resulting in an array of novel platelet products and substitutes that are currently at various stages of development. This review summarises the recent developments in lyophilised platelets, infusible platelet membranes (IPM), red cells bearing arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) ligands, fibrinogen-coated albumin microcapsules and liposome-based agents as putative alternatives to conventional transfusions involving allogeneic platelet concentrates. These various products are designed to replace the use of allogeneic donor platelets with modified or artificial platelets, to augment the function of existing platelets and/or provide a procoagulant material capable of achieving primary haemostasis in patients with thrombocytopenia. Preclinical studies have been encouraging for several of these platelet substitutes and novel platelet products, however, to date, only a few of these products have entered human trials. With the ongoing development of these diverse products, properties necessary for haemostatic effectiveness will become apparent. Safety and efficacy, however, must be demonstrated in preclinical and Phase I - III clinical trials, before these novel agents can be used clinically for patients with thrombocytopenia.
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