Desmoteplase is a chemical in the saliva of vampire bats. It activates plasminogen to the serine protease, plasmin. Plasmin acts by breaking down fibrin blood clots. When a vampire bat bites its victim, it secretes an enzyme that prevents the blood from clotting. The enzyme is called DSPA (Desmodus rotundus salivary plasminogen activator) and scientists are using DSPA as stroke and heart attack medication. It was discovered by Dr. Robert Medcalf at Box Hill Hospital in Australia. Desmoteplase was approved by the FDA in 2003, and is currently undergoing clinical trials.
- http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3007500 - Information on the modern medical uses of Desmoteplase.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=15529064 - Review article about stroke
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