Researchers at the University of Washington have developed an injectable material that can help blood clot faster and more effectively.
This may save people with traumatic injuries from things like falls or car accidents, or for soldiers in wartime.
The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
When you cut yourself, your body tries to keep the blood in and the bacteria out. Platelets that are in your blood will gather more cells around the wound. This creates a mass that is bonded together by a strand-like protein called fibrin. Usually, the clot dries and becomes a scab while the body heals by rebuilding the lower layers of skin. But when the wound is too large, or if you can’t form the clots fast enough, you will continue to have blood loss that can put your life in danger.
The researchers have created a synthetic material that can be injected if a person is losing a lot of blood. The material is called PolySTAT. It mimics the body’s enzyme Factor XIII, which helps the fibrin strands cement a blood clot. PolySTAT was tested on a small amount of blood and found that it clotted much more quickly and effectively.
In a test on rats with a major wound in an artery, the researchers found the rats that didn’t receive the injection of PolySTAT lost 11 times more blood than the rats that were treated.
There are lots of ways that medical professionals can stop excessive bleeding. But the creators of PolySTAT say that their development “is hardier both inside and outside the body.” The researchers plan to test PolySTAT’s effectiveness with organ damage and find other medical uses for polymers like this one.
We already have quite effective ways to stop bleeding, like using nanoparticles to clog up the hole. So it will be interesting to see where this goes.