Having a virtual copy of a patient’s blood in a computer would be a boon to researchers and doctors. They could examine a simulated heart attack caused by blood clotting in a diseased coronary artery and see if a drug like aspirin would be effective in reducing the size of such a clot.
“Blood platelets are like computers in that they integrate many signals and make a complex decision of what to do,” said senior author Scott Diamond, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “We were interested to learn if we could make enough measurements in the lab to detect the small differences that make each of us unique. It would be impossible to do this with the cells of the liver, heart or brain. But we can easily obtain a tube of blood from each donor and run tests of platelet calcium release.”