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The Tainted Heparin Story: An Update

Journal: Thrombosis and Haemostasis
ISSN: 0340-6245

Heparin and its derivatives – Present and future

Issue: 2009: 102/5 (Nov) pp. 799-1006
Pages: 907-911

The Tainted Heparin Story: An Update

Marco Guerrini 1; Zachary Shriver 2; Antonella Bisio 1; Annamaria Naggi 1; Benito Casu 1; Ram Sasisekharan 2; Giangiacomo Torri1

1Institute for Chemical and Biochemical Research “G. Ronzoni”, Milan, Italy; 2 Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Magnetic Resonance, heparins, glycosaminoglycans


Recently, certain batches of heparin have been associated with an acute, rapid onset of serious side-effects indicative of allergictype reactions. These reports generated significant concern regarding the possible presence of a dangerous contaminant within heparin and highlighted the need to re-assess the purity criteria of heparin preparations for clinical use. Given the nature of the array of all possible contaminants, traditional screening tests cannot safely differentiate between contaminated and uncontaminated heparin preparations. Mono- and bi-dimensional NMR spectroscopy are powerful techniques that are able to detect and quantify a wide variety of potential sulfated polysaccharide contaminants. As such, these techniques are powerful tools for the analysis and assessment of heparin preparations

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