In the world of trauma medicine, speed is of utmost importance. You want to be quick in responding to a call for help, quick in treating injuries and quick to stop any bleeding. Communications networks and good personnel staging can get first responders onsite and treating patients more quickly than ever, but they're still using gauze and tourniquets to stop bleeding — technology not too far removed from how we've been doing it for the past 50-plus years.
But if NYU student Joe Landolina has anything to say about, that could change. Landolina, a junior at New York University, invented a special kind of gel that can be applied to a traumatic wound to not only stop bleeding instantly, but to also provide a substrate for healing. Landolina's invention, called VetiGel, creates an artificial extracellular matrix that the body can absorb as it heals.
Landolina, who is pursuing degrees in biomolecular and chemical engineering, formed a company called Suneris with his partner, Isaac Miller. The product, which is not yet for sale and is in the testing phase, took first place in an NYU-Polytechnic young inventors contest in 2011. Suneris is pursuing FDA approval for use and has talked to the military about its battlefield applications. Beyond battlefield wounds though, the gel would find applications in surgery, first responder medicine, and even in treating everyday cuts at home. Why use Band-Aids when you can squirt a little magic healing gel to stop the bleeding?
Here's video of VetiGel in action. (Warning: You might want to skip this one if you are overly squeamish about blood. It's a bit gory.)
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