The Platelet Services Team enjoyed 2 days of deep immersion in all things platelet at the Platelet Society meeting hosted at the University of Hull last week. Our poster “Application of Platelet Testing in Drug Discovery” was a good fit for a meeting that showcased an expanding array of options for the assessment of platelet function. These included a number of presentations involving flow systems, which enable the use of a range of coating matrices and application of different shear stresses. These systems can be applied to distinguish the relative involvement of mechanisms/ potential targets in thrombus growth/stability versus thrombus initiation. A particularly interesting example was the application of 3D printing technology to generate a tissue-engineered human arterial construct, which may represent a potential alternative to in vivo thrombosis models.
Alternatives to the “traditional” measures of platelet activation and aggregation were also presented, including assessment of agonist effects on platelet contractility. Maybe of most interest was exemplification of a microfluidic dip stick method, coupled with mobile phone imaging, for assessing platelet function and effects of inhibitors in blood. With further development and validation, this test system has the potential to be a simple, cheap and accessible “point of care” platelet function test.
Throughout the presentations and in discussions, it became clear that it would be useful to have an easily accessible repository of key data for commonly used pharmacological tools used in platelet research. This would support optimal experimental design by ensuring that the concentration range being used is appropriate for the test system and the hypothesis being probed. Data would include potency values in blood, plasma and buffer systems in relevant animal species, along with information on plasma concentration at clinically-used doses. We plan to provide this resource on the Platelet Services website, initially covering P2Y12 receptor inhibitors, and then expanding the listing based on feedback.