Blood Clotting and The New Biotech Injectable Bandage
Often times, we get injured during the course of one daily activity or the other. In the real sense of our existence, I don’t think anyone can categorically say he or she has never sustained an injury that resulted in bleeding – I stand to be corrected, but even kids and baby’s sometimes sustain wounds and experience bleeding.
So, if there is such a person, then I believe such a person should probably be examined by scientists, because he or she might not be earthly….😁.
For people who have been injured in more ways than one, it is never easy having to deal with the pains from the injury, contend with the bleeding, and then initiate a very rapid treatment procedure at the same time. I’ve been a victim of a near fatal accident, and I’ve suffered injuries on occasions too, so I know from experience.
When it comes to injuries and bleeding, how do our body and skin in particular, react? The simple biological answer to that is blood-clotting or coagulation, which is a form of haemostasis (the body’s natural means of stopping the bleeding of injured blood vessels).
Bleeding as a result of a cut, bruise or a skin-tear; could also be seen as a sign that we are living human entities...😊
So, what is the idea of having your blood clot?
First of all, it is important to realise that when it comes to Haemostasis or blood-clotting; too little clotting can lead to excessive bleeding from even a minor injury, of which uncontrolled blood loss can be very dangerous.
Similarly, too much clotting can result in a blockage of blood vessels in critical areas that are not actually bleeding, leading to other complications. For instance, blood vessels leading to the brain that are clogged with blood clots can lead to stroke; while, similar clots in the blood vessels leading to the heart can lead to a heart attack, in the case of a thrombus
The clotting process usually involves three main processes:
Narrowing of the blood vessels (constriction)
The actions of cell-like particles of the blood (platelets) that help in clotting
The activity of proteins found in blood (clotting factors) which work with platelets to activate blood clotting
The blood clotting process in theory
Clotting factors are the proteins found in the blood which control bleeding. When an injury occurs to a blood vessel, the walls of the blood vessel naturally contract to reduce the blood flow to the affected area. The platelets which are small blood cells then stick to the injury spot and spread further along the surface of the blood vessel in order to halt the bleeding.
While that is going on, platelet plug is formed in the area. The platelet plug is formed when chemical signals are released from small sacs from within the platelets and they attract other cells to clump together in the affected area.
Once the platelets have been activated on the surface of the blood vessel, other clotting factors combine in a series of complex chemical reactions (coagulation cascade) to produce a fibrin clot. This fibrin clot then acts like a mesh to halt the bleeding process.
The coagulation factors are usually inactive in the blood as they circulate. They only get activated when a blood vessel in injured and then the coagulation cascade is initiated to alongside each coagulation factor in an organised order to create the blood clot.......for more you can visit here.
But what if technology can hasten haemostasis or blood clot?
The application of nanotechnology in biomedical science has hit new heights in recent years. And going by the recent breakthrough in the use of nanoparticles, an innovative “injectable bandage” capable of blending seamlessly with food thickening agent (Kappa-carrageenan) to rapidly halt bleeding and initiate a fast healing of wounds, has now been developed.
A team of researchers from the Texas A&M University, College Station, is heading the novel biomedical breakthrough. The gelling agent (Kappa-carrageenan) combining with the “injectable bandage” is commonly extracted from edible seaweed. And Kappa-carrageenan has been effective as a gelling agent in food for several decades.
The research team were able to blend synthetic two-dimensional nanosilicate with the Kappa-carrageenan to create an injectable hydrogel that stops bleeding. The nanoparticles enhanced the haemostasis function of the hydrogel, leading to a speed up in the blood clotting process.
As a secondary benefit of the nanotechnology adopted for the procedure, the study also revealed that the nanoparticles could be modified to carry a variety of therapeutic bio-macromolecules which leads to an enhanced wound healing process and tissue generation; and not just to stop bleeding via the injectable bandage, but to also direct therapeutic molecules into the wound itself.
One of the authors of the study, Giriraj Lokhande, stated that;
"Interestingly, we also found that these injectable bandages can show a prolonged release of therapeutics that can be used to heal the wound. The negative surface charge of nanoparticles enabled electrostatic interactions with therapeutics thus resulting in the slow release of therapeutics."
In most medical cases and emergencies which have ultimately resulted in death, uncontrollable bleeding happens to be one of the major causes.
If you think of medical cases involving accident victims, natural disaster (earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.) survivors or victims, and even soldiers at battle grounds; uncontrollable bleeding always seems to be a common medical emergency in such dire cases.
Although there have been some recent innovations in the recent past which have presented alternative means of speeding up clotting, but in my humble opinion, the injectable bandage might just be the real deal and most effective breakthrough in speeding up clotting.
Also, I do believe that asides rapidly halting excessive bleeding, the fact that nanoparticles in the injectable bandage promotes faster healing of wounds and aids quick tissue generation, certainly makes the new “injectable hydrogel bandage” innovation, advantageous in a triple-functional role.
For cases of patients or victims with internal bleeding from a variety of injuries, this injectable hydrogel bandage can simply be introduced directly to the site of the wound without much invasive and surgical procedure, and yet it would still yield a very effective result.