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"Heparin can still surprise us"

9 Jan 2018

Despite being a centenary drug, heparin remains as one of the essential drugs of medicine and especially of modern surgery but, in addition, possible applications in malaria, cancer or fertility are being investigated.

Dr. Robert Lindhart, Biochemist Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

There is a number of potential applications for heparin that we believe where would be extremely useful.  One is in treating cancer.

Dra. Anna Falanga, Hematologist Hospital San Giovanni XXIII

In the 80s and 90s, randomized trials showed that tumor patients who took unfractionated heparin alongside chemotherapy got better results from the chemotherapy and a benefit in terms of survival.

Dr. Marco Guerrini, Biochemist Instituto Científico G. Ronzoni

We are confident this molecule still has many surprises in for us, as it can be used as one of the main molecules against metastasis, against cancer.

Dr. Xavier Fernández Busquets, Biochemist ISGlobal IBEC

Heparin was found to have an interesting property: its antimalarial property. Our strategy here is to replicate what takes place in the human body. We place it in small nanovectors, where it can be much more concentrated than, say, in cells to eliminate the malaria parasite.

Dr. Robert Lindhart, Biochemist Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Heparin also affects our metabolism of lipids, and so it could be useful treating atherosclerosis, it could be used as an anti-inflammatory, it has an anti-inflammatory activity, it also has some anti-parasitic activity, an anti-viral activity and anti-bacterial activity. So, all of these other activities might be exploitable by this drug.