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‘Injectable bandage’ made from seaweed, clay stops internal bleeding in just three minutes

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injectable bandage<br />Photo: Smithsonian Magazine

An ‘injectable bandage’ could stop internal bleeding in just three minutes, new research suggests.

Made from compounds found in seaweed and gelling agents used in pastry making, the minimally-invasive injection also contains clay, which triggers blood cells to clot, a study found.

The treatment, which is released over several days, also creates a 3D, jelly-like substance that promotes healing of damaged tissue, the research adds.

Study author Giriraj Lokhande, from Texas A&M University, said: “We found these injectable bandages can show a prolonged release of therapeutics that can be used to heal the wound.”

Internal bleeding is a leading cause of death in war-related injuries or during operations to open up blood vessels narrowed by plaque.
The main substance in the injection is a red, edible seaweed, known as gelatinous k-carrageenan, which is used a thickener in many foods.

Adding clay to the substance forms a frame to the gel that effectively turns it into an ‘injectable bandage’, according to the researchers.

When tested on animal and human tissue in the lab, the treatment triggered blood clotting in less than three minutes. It also significantly boosts tissue regeneration and wound healing.

In the future, the researchers hope the clay particles in the treatment will be able to deliver drugs to wound sites. It is unclear when the injectable bandage may be treated on human wounds outside the lab.

The findings were published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia.


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