Research ArticleCOAGULATION

Synthetic oligosaccharides can replace animal-sourced low–molecular weight heparins

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Science Translational Medicine  06 Sep 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 406, eaan5954
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan5954

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A reliable animal-free heparin drug

Full-sized and low–molecular weight heparins are widely used to treat a variety of clotting disorders. Although low–molecular weight heparins are safer and more convenient to use than full-size heparin, they are still animal-derived products that present a risk of contamination and supply chain interruptions and are limited with respect to standardization and reversibility of anticoagulation. A method developed by Xu et al. offers a potential alternative to animal-sourced heparins in the form of a chemical synthesis process that can be scaled up to produce heparin dodecasaccharides with reversible activity in adequate quantities for potential therapeutic use.