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Have you ever accidentally cut yourself without realizing it, and then later looked down to realize you’ve been bleeding for quite a while, and that your pants are probably ruined? Consider the opposite: noticing you’re bleeding profusely but having it stop before you realize it. Okay, that’s not really the opposite. Regardless, the blood-halting invention we’re talking about is a true jaw-dropper and could be as big a boon to the medical field as cures for disease.
NYU student Joe Landolina, while on the way to achieving a bachelor’s degree in biomolecular and chemical engineering as well as a masters in biomedical engineering, has invented a gel that when applied to a fresh wound, will almost immediately seal the wound shut, preventing further blood loss. As amazing as that is, the process goes beyond its role as a super-strong gauze substitution and actually assists in the healing process. This quasi-miracle product, which is currently seeking FDA approval, is called Veti-Gel. Though it’s worth noting that it was initially named Medi-Gel before Landolina learned that the Mass Effect video games had already called dibs on that. Take a look at the product in action on a pork loin, and consider how smart these people can possibly be if they’re doing something that makes pork inedible.
The gel is made from plant polymers that mimic the skin’s extracellular matrix (ECM) — the sugars and proteins and molecules that keep cells in place — and it applies the proper amount of pressure to keep the blood in the body, all while looking and feeling like real skin. In addition, it activates platelet cells and fibrin, necessary to make the blood clot. It doesn’t mean instant healing, but it’s a definite head start in the process.
Suneris, Inc., the company founded by Landolina and his business parter Isaac Miller, is in talks with — you guessed it — DARPA and other military heads that are very interested in becoming potential customers. Should it be as successful on humans as it has been on animals, the future could see antibiotics and other drugs introduced into the gel to further assist in the healing of wounds. Landolina talks about the gel’s potential below.
The gel, once it gets FDA approval, has a huge amount of ramifications, not only having something that can be available to every medic, so that you can immediately stop traumatic bleeding, but also something surgeons use in the operating room, so that if you have some bleeding that arises on the operating table you don’t lose the patient…Every mother has something in their purse, just so that if their kid cuts themself, you can slap it on, and it takes the place of a liquid bandage. All the way to care of the elderly where you have bed sores, you can put this on – hopefully it can work on healing the ulcers. We’re just trying to work out where it fits into the grand scheme of things.
I can’t imagine the amount of danger I would have put myself in as a child if I knew there was a gel that could immediately fix my cuts and scrapes. But now I have to worry about my own kid’s random intentions. Beware the future.