Here’s something extremely exciting: UBC researchers have developed the first ever self-propelled particles designed to deliver coagulants against blood flow (substances that assist blood in clotting). This is a major breakthrough for treating severe bleeding in cases of extreme trauma.

Call For Change: Facilitate Blood Clotting

As explained by Christian Kastrup, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia, bleeding is the major killer of young people. Moreover, maternal mortality due to postpartum hemorrhaging can escalate to about one in every 50 births in low resource areas.

Conventional methods of controlling severe bleeding have not proved to be very effective, especially when the blood loss occurs from within the body, such as the uterus, abdomen or sinus.

Hundreds of coagulating agents have been developed, but a central issue remains – pushing these strategies against severe blood flow upstream so as to reach the disrupted vessels. Now, for the first time, researchers have come up with an agent capable of withstanding the pressure.

Novel Development: How It Works?

Kastrup, along with a team of researchers, emergency physicians and biochemical engineers have developed simple, gas-generating calcium carbonate micro-particles that can be applied as a powder to halt extreme severe bleeding.

Here’s how the particles work: they release carbon dioxide gas, which acts as an antacid and propels them upstream towards the source of bleeding. The carbonate forms porous micro particles capable of binding with a clotting agent called tranexamic acid. Once this happens, the latter is transported through the wound and penetrates the damaged tissue.

What The Future Holds On Blood Clotting

After observing and modeling the pathway of the particles in vitro, the scientists confirmed its effectiveness in two animal models. Even in a mimicked catastrophic event, such as a gunshot injury to a femoral artery, the particles proved their efficacy and halted bleeding.

Despite the need for rigorous testing and further development to market them to agencies, these particles could serve various uses during sinus operations and managing combat wounds.

“The area we’re actually focusing on is postpartum hemorrhage: in the uterus, after childbirth, you can’t see the damaged vessels, but you can put this powder into that area and the particles can find the damaged vessels”, stated Kastrup. The research was recently published online in Science Advances.