Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

A startup based in Cambridge, MA, says that it plans to soon begin clinical trials of a nanostructured material that stops bleeding almost instantly. A startup called Arch Therapeutics has licensed the technology from MIT and is developing manufacturing processes for making it in large amounts.

The new material can be poured over a site and will stop the bleeding almost at once.

The first application, pending Food and Drug Administration approval, will be for use during surgery to quickly stop bleeding and even prevent it in the first place. Floyd Loop, currently an advisor to Arch Therapeutics, and formerly a cardiovascular surgeon and the head of Cleveland Clinic, says that it could be useful in a wide variety of surgeries, including brain, heart, and prostate. For example, he says that when large tumors are removed, “there’s a lot of diffuse bleeding around the site, and you have to spend a lot of time with sponges and cautery stopping it.”

Loops says that in addition to saving time, which can improve the outcome of a surgery, the material could decrease the need for transfusions and reoperations to control bleeding. What’s more, it could reduce the risk of infection. It could be used, for instance, to prevent leakage after bowel-repair surgery. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Loop says.

Eventually, the material could be used by first responders to stop bleeding at accident sites and on the battlefield. It has a long shelf life, which makes it attractive for use in first-aid kits. It’s also easily broken down by the body, so it doesn’t have to be removed, unlike other agents for stopping blood flow. However, Loop cautions that further tests are needed to confirm that the material will work in nonsurgical applications.

The material, a synthetic peptide, was discovered at MIT in the early 1990s. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that its potential for stopping bleeding was discovered. Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, a researcher at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, was exploring its potential use to promote the healing of brain injuries. When he applied a liquid containing the synthetic peptides to a wound site in animal experiments, bleeding in the area stopped within a few seconds. Arch Therapeutics was founded in mid-2006 to develop the material for commercial use. The company made its first public appearance late last month when it announced a finalized licensing agreement for the new technology.

4 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Asia Kepka

Tagged: Biomedicine, Materials, nanotechnology, blood, self-assembly, surgery

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »