Researchers from University of California, Santa Barbara, Scripps Research Institute and Sanford-Burnham Institute have developed synthetic blood platelets. Platelets are flexible plates that allow blood to heal wounds and prevent excess bleeding. These new synthetic platelets could be used not only to perform the typical functions of human platelets, but may also have other applications such as carrying imaging agents through blood vessels or delivering drugs to blood clots. The researchers used a rigid polymeric core, which was later dissolved to allow for flexibility, as a template upon which layers of proteins and polyelectrolytes were deposited and crosslinked to create a stable synthetic platelet-shaped particle. The particle was then coated with proteins found on the surface of activated natural platelets or damaged blood vessels to create the synthetic platelets.