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.
This study will appear in the online edition of the journal Nanomedicine on Oct. 10 at http://www.nanomedjournal.com/inpress. It marks the first time that nanotechnology has been used to achieve complete hemostasis, the process of halting bleeding from a damaged blood vessel.
Doctors currently have few effective methods to stop bleeding without causing other damage. More than 57 million Americans undergo nonelective surgery each year, and as much as 50 percent of surgical time is spent working to control bleeding. Current tools used to stop bleeding include clamps, pressure, cauterization, vasoconstriction and sponges.
In their experiments on hamsters and rats, the MIT and HKU researchers applied the clear liquid containing short peptides to open wounds in several different types of tissue - brain, liver, skin, spinal cord and intestine.
"In almost every one of the cases, we were able to immediately stop the bleeding," said Ellis-Behnke, the lead author of the study.
Earlier this year, the same researchers reported that a similar liquid was able to partially restore sight in hamsters that had had their visual tract severed. In that c
Source:Massachusetts Institute of Technology