10 October 2006
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, have created a liquid that stops bleeding in any tissue in a matter of seconds. It is a discovery that they claim has the potential to revolutionise surgery and emergency medicine and could even make it easier to reattach severed limbs.
Rutledge Ellis-Behnke and colleagues worked from the nanoscale, using individual amino acids to create a self-assembling peptide. It looks exactly like water but when applied directly onto injured tissue it halts bleeding. This is the first time nanotechnology has been used to control bleeding, claims Rutledge.
The remarkable discovery was made by accident during an experiment in which the liquid was used to stimulate nerve repair in the brains of rats. Ellis-Behnke’s group, whose work is focussed on central nervous system repair, found that the liquid mended the nerve cells as predicted, but caused a strange side effect.
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