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Antiplatelet Therapy

This article was published in December 2008 as part of the special ASH anniversary brochure, 50 Years in Hematology: Research That Revolutionized Patient Care.

Once thought to be just "dust" particles in blood, platelets were first recognized as a special class of blood cells (actually cell fragments) by an Italian researcher in 1882. Hematology research over the past century has subsequently unraveled what platelets normally do, why they can cause cardiovascular disease under certain conditions, and how they can be effectively targeted with antiplatelet therapy to prevent and treat heart attacks and stroke.