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Developments in polymer materials aid instant cessation of bleeding, wound healing

Developments in polymer materials aid instant cessation of bleeding, wound healing

27-Nov-14

Uncontrolled bleeding continues to be the leading cause of death on the battlefield and the second leading cause of death for civilian traumas.

A revolutionary polymer gel puts immediate stop to bleeding - stopping the flow of profuse bleeding within seconds. Made from plant polymers, VetiGel works with the body’s natural healing mechanisms to clot blood on contact. This novel development is the brainchild of Joe Landolina, a bio-molecular chemical engineer and former student of the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, who set up a Brooklyn-based company called Suneris. The gel technology uses natural polymers to cooperate with the body’s native cellular clotting signals and accelerate hemostasis. This approach stops bleeding more quickly than any other method currently available in wound care. When this gel technology is used, three aspects of hemostasis are enhanced to quickly and effectively stop bleeding. Immediately after application, the gel stimulates the clotting process by physically holding pressure in the damaged blood vessel. The gel then rapidly activates the accumulation of platelets, which bind to the site of the injury to create a platelet mesh. The gel completes hemostasis by accelerating the binding of the clotting protein, fibrin, to the platelet mesh, resulting in blood coagulation and a stable clot. The gel technology not only stops bleeding promptly, but it also creates an exceptionally strong clot that is maintained over time. The rapid formation of a sturdy, long-lasting clot reduces the need for a second application of the gel and, consequently, less blood loss. Moreover, the potential need for follow-up surgeries is alleviated due to better control of excessive bleeding. The gel technology is durable and bioresorbable. After the gel has controlled bleeding at the site of injury, the accompanying solidifying agent is applied to solidify the gel and form a long-lasting protective barrier over the wound. Because the plant-based gel technology is biocompatible, it facilitates options and flexibility in follow-up care. Once the gel is secured as a single mass by the solidifying agent, it can either be removed or left in place to safely resorb. The Suneris gel technology is designed to accelerate hemostasis through physiomechanical methods. Because the gel is naturally adhesive, it is able to remain at the site of the injury without manual pressure, allowing the components of the gel to interact with damaged cells to initiate hemostasis. Suneris has engineered a polymerizing agent to enhance the durability of the gel technology. After applying the gel and ensuring that hemostasis is achieved, the polymerizing agent is sprayed onto the gel. This causes rapid restructuring of components in the gel resulting in a solid mass. Our gel is able to stop bleeding without any additional components, but solidifying the gel improves the durability of the clot, protects the wound from outside elements and allows for easy removal, if needed. 
VetiGel, according the inventors, can get the job done in maximum 20 seconds. The gel works on both skin and organ tissues by binding with components in blood and tissue . The plant cell wall polymers in the gel, when applied to the wound, duplicate the structure of the tissue. Basically when the gel is applied part of it transforms on to the internal surface of a bleeding organ, another to broken blood vessel, and the outer part mimics the skin, eventually making the bleeding stop.  VetiGel has undergone animal testing under the supervision of a cardiovascular surgeon, and was determined to be safe enough for use for veterinarians. Landolina hopes that VetiGel will soon be used by the armed forces in the field to treat major trauma victims and prevent them from bleeding out until they get to hospital.


A new battlefield lifesaver in the form of a syringe can seal a gunshot wound in just seconds. The device was designed by US company RevMedx, which claims the apparatus can stop a wound from bleeding in just 15 seconds. The XStat is a modified syringe that injects tiny tablet-sized sponges into a wound. Its creators initially experimented by spraying foam into wounds, John Steinbaugh, a US Army Special Operations medic who is on the design team at RevMedx, told Popular Science.  “That’s what we pictured as the perfect solution: something you could spray in, it would expand, and bleeding stops, But we found that blood pressure is so high, blood would wash the foam right out,” he said.
The team decided to use sponges measuring 1 centimeter in diameter – the size of an aspirin or paracetamol tablet. Like the foam, these sponges expanded to fill the wound. They also stuck to moist surfaces and created enough pressure to stem the bleeding. The core technology behind the dressing is mini-sponges that expand upon contact with blood – resulting in a nearly immediate hemostatic effect without manual compression. A medic would simply insert the syringe into a wound and press down on the plunger to inject the miniature sponges. 
RevMedx initially experimented on animal wounds. After early success, the company managed to secure US$5 mln in funding from the US Army. The company then finessed its design to use sponges made from wood pulp coated with a blood-clotting, antimicrobial substance called chitosan. Each sponge is marked with a special ‘X’ that shows up on X-rays to ensure that none of the tiny pills are left in the body. RevMedx is currently developing three different sizes of the syringe to treat a variety of wounds. Each one is made of lightweight polycarbonate and is expected to cost about US$100. It is currently awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the US.
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