PDSA E-News: May 31, 2014


Researchers Find Impaired Proplatelet Formation Contributes to Decreased Platelets in ITP

251What causes decreased platelet count in immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is not entirely understood.  Researchers in Argentina investigated the key step of proplatelet formation (PPF) by studying the effect of ITP plasma in thrombopoiesis.  Megakaryocytes taken from cord blood were cultured along with recalcified plasma from ITP patients.  The PPF was evaluated using microscopic analysis.  The ITP patient samples caused a dose-dependent inhibition in PPF and decreased the complexity of the proplatelet structure.  Results showed there is involvement of auto-antibodies in inhibiting thrombopoiesis.  The findings indicate new mechanisms contribute to decreased platelet counts in ITP patients.

Lev PR1, Grodzielski M, Goette NP, et al. "Impaired proplatelet formation in immune thrombocytopenia: a novel mechanism contributing to decreased platelet count." Br J Haematol. 2014. Mar 27.

Novel Treatments Being Developed for Immune Thrombocytopenia

A Canadian study has found that currently available treatments for ITP are inadequate since they do not reverse the disease process and usually do not result in long-lasting remissions.  Many of the treatments produce serious side effects including infection and potentially thrombosis (blood clots).  New treatments being developed work differently from the current group.  They target certain key steps in the ITP disease process.  These include the platelet auto-antibodies, T-cells, and signals for platelet destruction.  Targeted therapies for ITP patients could improve disease outcomes while limiting difficult side effects.

Shih A, Nazi I, Kelton JG, Arnold DM. "Novel treatments for immune thrombocytopenia." Presse Med. 2014 Apr;43(4 Pt 2):e87-95.


New Injectable Bandages Stop Heavy Bleeding in Just 15 Seconds

252Military statistics show minimizing major blood loss within the first 10 minutes after traumatic injury is crucial to survival.  Hemorrhage is the leading cause of battlefield deaths.  Large deep wounds in the upper legs and torso are often difficult areas for applying an external tourniquet.  Researchers have developed a pocket-sized syringe that can inject directly into the wound site a sealed barrier from tiny, pill-sized sponges made of sterile cellulose (wood pulp) coated with an antimicrobial clotting agent called chitosan.  The sponges expand up to 15 times their size as they soak up blood and expand within the deep wound, clumping together to form a solid mass that prevents excessive bleeding while also speeding up clotting.  The injectable sponges may soon be absorbable within the body as well.  These would be quite effective for nosebleeds as well.   The injectable dressings, if FDA approved, may be available this summer.

Nguyen T. "An Injectable Bandage Can Stop Heavy Bleeding in 15 Seconds," Smithsonian.com, Feb. 12, 2014.


Consumer Group Urges Caution in Use of Artificial Sweetener Sucralose

250This past summer the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a food safety advocacy group, downgraded its rating for the artificial sweetener, sucralose (common trade name Splenda®) from "safe" to "caution", pending peer review of a study by an independent Italian lab that had found the sweetener caused leukemia in mice.  CSPI said it awaits the Italian study's review before deciding what long-term safety grade to assign to Splenda.  CSPI said previously the only long-term animal feeding studies had been done by the sucralose manufacturer.  CSPI had already rated as "avoid" several other artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium.  A sweetener obtained from the plant stevia is currently considered "safe" by CSPI.  To help avoid risks of both sugar and artificial sweeteners, CSPI encourages people to make a healthy switch to water, seltzer, diluted fruit juices, unsweetened flavored waters, and unsweetened tea.

Nordqvist, C. "How Safe Is Splenda (Sucralose)?." Medical News Today. (2013, June 25). Retrieved from

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