Researchers use liquids to halt open wound bleeding

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Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hong Kong University have shown that some simple biodegradable liquids can stop bleeding in wounded rodents within seconds. This development could significantly impact wound care services in the future.

When the liquid, composed of protein fragments called peptides, is applied to open wounds, the peptides self-assemble into a nanoscale protective barrier gel that seals the wound and halts bleeding. Once the injury heals, the nontoxic gel is broken down into molecules that cells can use as building blocks for tissue repair.
"We have found a way to stop bleeding, in less than 15 seconds, that could revolutionize bleeding control," said Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, research scientist in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
The researchers have conducted a series of experiments on various mammals, including rodents and pigs, applying the clear liquid agent to the brain, skin, liver, spinal cord and femoral artery to test its ability to halt bleeding and seal wounds.
"It worked every single time," said Ellis-Behnke. They found the solutions stopped the bleeding in less than 15 seconds, and even worked on animals given blood-thinning medications. They cautioned, however, that experiments on humans are still several years away.
The exact mechanism of the solutions' action is still unknown, but the researchers believe the peptides interact with the extracellular matrix surrounding the cells.
"It is a completely new way to stop bleeding; whether it produces a physical barrier is unclear at this time," Ellis-Behnke said.
The researchers are confident that the material does not work by inducing blood clotting, which generally takes at least 90 seconds to start.
A paper outlining the findings is available online and was published in the December issue of Nanomedicine.