Instant Liquid Band-Aids

A liquid compound of amino acids can stop bleeding within seconds.

By Jack Penland|Thursday, October 19, 2006

Researchers have stumbled upon a clear liquid that, in tests conducted so far, stops bleeding in about 15 seconds, faster and with fewer complications than other methods available today.

The researchers, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Hong Kong, have found a liquid that, according to one of the researchers, MIT's Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, can be applied "wherever there's an injury or a cut, and it ... stops bleeding right away without clotting." Another member of the research team, Gerald Schneider, also of MIT, says its easy to administer and that, "You could put it in a tube and squeeze it out like toothpaste."

Ellis-Behnke adds when you wipe away the liquid, bleeding resumes, but if you reapply the liquid it stops.

The gel uses amino acids, the body's building blocks, to create nano-scale fibers that Ellis-Behnke says, "May be self assembling into a nano-patch." He describes the effect as similar to hair clogging a drain. He adds the liquid so far has not created, "an immune response for the body because as the amino acids break down they become building blocks actually for the repair of the system, or they're excreted in the urine."

"Actually, this is a completely accidental discovery," explains Ellis-Behnke, "We were actually working on how to reconnect disconnected parts of the brain and when we made a cut in the brain, usually you see bleeding. When we put this material in, we saw all the bleeding stop. If you see bleeding stop when you are doing neurosurgery, that usually means that the ... animal you are working on has ... died."

"It appeared that our animals were dying or something," adds Schneider, who explained they had to keep checking the animals to make sure they were indeed alive. They set the liquid aside for further study, testing the liquid on wounds in various parts of hamsters and rats. Each time, the wound stopped bleeding in about 15 seconds.

The researchers next want to better learn how the liquid forms its clog and also to see how well it works on larger animals.

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