Research shows how 'Mallard' dye fills need for speed

Scientists at the University of York have developed a new medical tool which could help surgeons carrying out complex procedures in the operating theatre.

Researchers have developed a dye which provides a quick and accurate method of checking levels in the blood. Heparin is an important anti-coagulant which has a significant role in . The scientists in the Department of Chemistry at York have used inspiration from biological systems to allow the dye to bind heparin even in highly competitive human serum.

In the laboratory, they have modified existing dyes which previously could not bind with heparin successfully under these challenging conditions. The modified dye, which has excellent sensing capacity for heparin pinpoints the anti-coagulant's level in human serum and has the potential to work more quickly than existing clinical methods for doing this.

The research, which was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, is published in the .

Because the dye can rapidly detect heparin levels, the scientists have named it 'Mallard Blue'. It is the same shade as the livery of the A4 Pacific Mallard, which holds the world speed record for a , and is now preserved at the National Railway Museum in York.

Professor Dave Smith, of the Department of Chemistry at York who led the research said: "Our new dye allows the quantification of heparin in serum at clinically relevant levels and is the best in class for this application in terms of its ability to bind heparin strongly under really competitive biological conditions, and may improve on the currently used systems.

"We have named the dye 'Mallard Blue', after the record-breaking steam train, 'Mallard' which is housed in the railway museum here at York. Our dye is the same colour as the locomotive, and we believe it is similarly ground-breaking in its performance."

The York researchers worked with a team led by Sabrina Pricl at the University of Trieste who used high-level computer modelling to understand precisely how Mallard Blue binds to heparin so strongly.

The next stage in this research would involve the incorporation of this new dye into a device for simple bedside read-out of heparin levels in blood.

More information: pubs.acs.org/articlesonrequest… YzXPy7pkeKpfPBUEXKvY

Related Stories

FDA to test all heparin at U.S. border

Mar 16, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an import alert and plans to test all shipments of the drug heparin before they enter the country.

Toward an improved test for adulterated heparin

Sep 21, 2011

Scientists are reporting refinement of a new test that promises to help assure the safety of supplies of heparin, the blood thinner taken by millions of people worldwide each year to prevent blood clots. The ...

Simple new method detects contaminants in life-saving drug

Nov 17, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- The blood-thinning drug heparin is highly effective when used to prevent and treat blood clots in veins, arteries and lungs, but earlier this year its reputation as a lifesaver was sullied when contaminated ...

Recommended for you

Team untangles the biological effects of blue light

5 hours ago

Blue light can both set the mood and set in motion important biological responses. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences have teased apart the ...

Mouse model provides new insight in to preeclampsia

5 hours ago

Worldwide, preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal deaths and preterm births. This serious pregnancy complication results in extremely high blood pressure and organ damage. The onset of preeclampsia is associated with ...

Scientists unravel the mystery of a rare sweating disorder

5 hours ago

An international research team discovered that mutation of a single gene blocks sweat production, a dangerous condition due to an increased risk of hyperthermia, also known as heatstroke. The gene, ITPR2, controls a basic ...

User comments