April 3 (UPI) -- Researchers have developed an "injectable bandage" that quickly stops bleeding and allows wounds to heal faster than traditional dressings.
Biomedical engineers at Texas A&M University in College Stations have invented the "injectable bandage," which is composed of a seaweed-derived gelling agent and two-dimensional clay nanoparticles.
The ingredients form a hydrogel -- a highly absorbent, jelly-like substance with a super-high water content -- that works without other forms of bandages and becomes a blood clotting substance.
Research on development of the bandage was published Sunday in Acta Biomaterialia.
"Injectable hydrogels are promising materials for achieving hemostasis in case of internal injuries and bleeding, as these biomaterials can be introduced into a wound site using minimally invasive approaches," Dr. Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, an assistant professor in Texas A&M's Department of Biomedical Engineering, said in a press release. "An ideal injectable bandage should solidify after injection in the wound area and promote a natural clotting cascade. In addition, the injectable bandage should initiate wound healing response after achieving hemostasis."
The researchers tested the bandage on animal and human tissue cells in the lab. The nanoparticle-infused hydrogel began clotting in less than three minutes. The substance has not, however, been tested in human wounds.
Wounds, including those by gunshots, need to be treated quickly because they can cause internal bleeding, as well as bleeding on the outside.
"Hemorrhage is a leading cause of death in battlefield wounds, anastomosis hemorrhage and percutaneous intervention," the researchers wrote in the study. "Thus, there is a need for the development of novel bioactive materials to reduce the likelihood of hemorrhagic shock stemming from internal wounds."
Rev Med X has developed a device that injects rapidly expanding sponges into a wound cavity using a syringe-like applicator that fill the cavity within 20 seconds of contact with blood. The device is designed for life-threatening wounds, including those sustained on the battlefield, but it is limited for use on the arms, legs and groin area, the company said.
"Interestingly, we also found that these injectable bandages can show a prolonged release of therapeutics that can be used to heal the wound," said author Giriraj Lokhande, a graduate student in Gaharwar's lab. "The negative surface charge of nanoparticles enabled electrostatic interactions with therapeutics thus resulting in the slow release of therapeutics."