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New blood-clotting agent to help soldiers in extreme temps

March 30, 2016 11:08 AM

When soldiers suffer traumatic battle wounds in combat, there is a window of just around 10 minutes for medics to apply blood-clotting agents before they will likely lose too much blood to survive. The U.S. military has relied on injectable blood-clotting agents to save soldiers lives for years, but many are unstable at extreme temperatures. This is where the Lavik Lab comes in.

Erin Lavik, professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering (CBEE) and a new faculty member at UMBC, has developed nanoparticles that, as a new article describes, “act like bridges between platelets to make clots form faster.” The have effectively stimulated platelet aggregation in cell culture,  remained stable temperatures, and performed well in animal testing. Her team’s research, including a recent successful phase of testing in rats with traumatic liver injury, was featured in Chemical & Engineering News.

To test their ability to remain effective after storage at high temperatures, similar to those found in many combat zones, the nanoparticles were heated to 122 degrees Fahrenheit for one week. Lavik found that the agents performed just as well as in earlier tests. Further tests will determine if this blood-clotting agent could be applied clinically, to serve as a more stable and less expensive alternative to current drugs.

Read more about Lavik’s work in “Artificial Clotting Agent Could Treat Internal Bleeding in Combat Zones,” in Chemical & Engineering News.

Image: The Information Technology and Engineering building, by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.
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