New Liquid Could Replace Adhesive Bandages
Research scientist Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, left, and Professor Gerald Schneider stand by monitor showing a transected liver that has been sealed with a substance that can stop bleeding within seconds of application.
Credit: Donna Coveney

Adhesive bandages might become a thing of the past, thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hong Kong University who have developed a simple biodegradable liquid that can stop bleeding in rodents within seconds.

When the liquid, composed of protein fragments called peptides, is applied to an open wound, the peptides self-assemble into a gel that seals the wound and stops bleeding [image].

"We have found a way to stop bleeding, in less than 15 seconds, that could revolutionize bleeding control," said Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, an MIT researcher and lead author of the study, which appears today in the online edition of the journal Nanomedicine.

Eventually, the gel breaks down into amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, that can be used by surrounding cells for tissue repair.

The researchers used a similar liquid to allow brain cells to regrow and partially restore sight in hamsters earlier this year.

For this study, they applied the clear liquid to open wounds in brain, liver, skin, spinal cord and intestinal tissue in hamsters and rats.

"In almost every one of the cases, we were able to immediately stop the bleeding," Ellis-Behnke said.

The material could provide a quick method for controlling bleeding during surgeries without causing other damage, according to Ellis-Behnke.

"The time to perform an operation could potentially be reduced by up to 50 percent," he said.