A new gel made from algae may revolutionize the way we heal. The amazing new material can halt the blood flow in seconds on woulds that would normally take much longer to staunch.
The new product, called Vetigel, is applied to the bleeding site with a syringe and enhances the body’s own clotting fibers, collecting platelets and stopping the blood flow. It holds over time (as opposed to breaking down and letting the wound bleed again), and works equally well for both skin and organs.
Vetigel is made from plant cell polymers that collect fibrin, a protein required for blood clotting. Since the gel is plant based, it can be safely reabsorbed by the body as the wound heals. Check out the TED Talks vid below.
There are other products out there focused on hemostasis (stopping bleeding), like Xstat, and QuickClot. The former is little more than a bunch of tiny sponges, and the latter works by soaking up the body’s own water and concentrating coagulants. They can take a little longer to work than Vetigel, and need pressure applied to the wound to slow blood flow.
Because it’s so much faster and more effective, the gel could be a boon for emergency medicine. No more extreme bleeds, and no more need to keep pressure on the wound – just squirt some into the affected area and watch the blood leak stop right before your eyes.
Unfortunately, right now it’s only approved for use in animals. Human trials have yet to get the green light, but the first shipments of Vetigel are scheduled to go out to veterinarians in November. Inventor Joe Landolina (who invented the gel when he was 17) says he expects to get approval for human use in the next two to three years.