The polymer, developed at the University of Washington, is inspired by a natural protein.
This 3-D rendering shows fibrin forming a blood clot, with PolySTAT (in blue) crosslinking the strands. (Image courtesy William Walker/University of Washington)
A new injectable polymer could strengthen blood clots and in the process save lives on the battlefield and elsewhere when medical attention isn't immediately available, according to a report in Qmed's sister UBM publication, Plastics Today.
Inspiration for the polymer, called PolySTAT, came from factor XIII, a natural blood-clot-strengthening protein, according to a University of Washington news release. Both PolySTAT and factor XIII crosslink the specialized fibers, called fibrin, that weave themselves through a clot, reinforcing the fibrin in the process.
The UW researchers injected rats PolySTAT; they all survived a usually lethal femoral artery injury. Only a fifth treated with factor XIII survived. The plan is to conduct human clinical trials in five years.
"This is something you could [. . . ] give right away to reduce blood loss and keep people alive long enough to make it to medical care," said Nathan White, MD, an assistant professor of emergency medicine who teamed with UW bioengineers and chemical engineers to develop the macromolecule. PolySTAT is described in a paper featured on the cover of the March 4 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
The benefits of quick wound-closing technologies are obvious for the military, not to mention people in rural areas or wilderness.
A number of technologies are in the works.
For example, a company called Suneris has a gel-like plant-based polymer called VetiGel that works on both skin and organ tissue, binding with blood and tissue components before duplicating their structure.
Last year, a hydrophobic light-activated surgical adhesive was created by researchers at the Boston Children's Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. It is meant to help seal wounds and wet tissue without being compromised by an exposure to blood.
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