Injectable bandage promises to reduce battlefield mortality

A gelling agent has been utilised by researchers from the Inspired Nanomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory at Texas A&M University to create an injectable bandage that stops bleeding.

injectable bandage

According to the University, there is an unmet need to quickly self-administer materials that prevent fatality due to excessive blood loss.

In a recent article “Nanoengineered Injectable Hydrogels for Wound Healing Application” published in Acta Biomaterialia, Dr. Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, used kappa-carrageenan and nanosilicates to form injectable hydrogels to promote the process to stop bleeding (haemostasis) and facilitate wound healing via a controlled release of therapeutics.

“Injectable hydrogels are promising materials for achieving haemostasis in case of internal injuries and bleeding, as these biomaterials can be introduced into a wound site using minimally invasive approaches,” Gaharwar said in a statement. “An ideal injectable bandage should solidify after injection in the wound area and promote a natural clotting cascade. In addition, the injectable bandage should initiate wound healing response after achieving haemostasis.”

The study used kappa-carrageenan, a commonly used thickening agent obtained from seaweed, to design injectable hydrogels. Hydrogels are a 3D water swollen polymer network 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 are said to provide haemostatic ability to the hydrogels. Specifically, plasma protein and platelets form blood adsorption on the gel surface and trigger a blood clotting cascade.

“Interestingly, we also found that these injectable bandages can show a prolonged release of therapeutics that can be used to heal the wound” said Giriraj Lokhande, a graduate student in Gaharwar’s lab and first author of the paper. “The negative surface charge of nanoparticles enabled electrostatic interactions with therapeutics thus resulting in the slow release of therapeutics.”

This research has been funded by the US National Science Foundation’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems Division, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.