Several other compounds have recently been developed to stop bleeding. Fibrin-based products are used in emergency rooms and dental applications, for example, but the new material is faster and more effective, says Steve Yerid, an emergency-room physician at St. Vincent Hospital, in Worcester, MA. Other approaches to stopping bleeding are too slow, can lead to tissue damage, or must be removed from the wound because they don’t readily break down. Conversely, the new material is easy to apply, doesn’t cause damage, and can be left on the wound, even if it’s a deep wound that’s eventually sewn up.
The material consists of naturally occurring amino acids that have been engineered to form peptides that spontaneously cluster together to create long fibers when exposed to salty, aqueous environments, such as those found in the body. The fibers form a mesh that serves as a physical barrier to blood and other fluids.
So far, Arch Therapeutics has been focused on developing new processes for making the materials in large amounts and on developing a better understanding of the mechanisms at work in stopping blood flow. It is preparing to do clinical trials, but is first doing further animal tests. Based on the fact that the material works as a physical barrier, the founders expect that it will qualify as a medical device rather than a drug, which could speed the approval process.