A penetrating injury from shrapnel is a serious obstacle in overcoming battlefield wounds that can ultimately lead to death. Given the high mortality rates due to hemorrhaging, there is an unmet need to quickly self-administer materials that prevent fatality due to excessive blood loss.
With a gelling agent commonly used in preparing pastries, researchers have successfully fabricated an injectable bandage to stop bleeding and promote wound healing. The researchers use kappa-carrageenan and nanosilicates to form injectable hydrogels to promote hemostasis (the process to stop bleeding) and facilitate wound healing via a controlled release of therapeutics.
The study uses a commonly used thickening agent known as kappa-carrageenan, obtained from seaweed, to design injectable hydrogels. Hydrogels are a 3D water swollen polymer network, similar to Jell-O, simulating the structure of human tissues.
When kappa-carrageenan is mixed with clay-based nanoparticles, injectable gelatin is obtained. The charged characteristics of clay-based nanoparticles provide hemostatic ability to the hydrogels. Specifically, plasma protein and platelets form blood adsorption on the gel surface and trigger a blood clotting cascade.