New Clotting Gel: Turbid Algae Pond

2. November 2015
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Vetigel®, a new product, is said to stop bleeding in minutes. Search by doctors for clinical data however come to no avail. It remains at present only available for veterinary applications. Army laboratories are pursuing their own parallel ideas – and have already made it much further down the path.

Regardless of whether it happens at work, in traffic or in combat: in the instance of larger-scale bleeding events there exists, due to the volume of blood lost, a threat of haemorrhagic shock. With serious injury to an extremity, compression bandages or casts are always an option to be used. The challenges presented by internal trauma are not really able to be overcome by emergency action on the spot. During OPs, doctors have options such as haemostats, fibrin fixers or electrocautery available to them. The greater the difficulty of reaching the nearest hospital, the greater is also the mortality rate. For this reason, researchers have long been looking for ways to provide treatment to patients directly on the spot.

Wonder boy using algae extract

The latest achievement: the media present reports on Joe Landolina (22) with great euphoria. He was already experimenting at age 17 in his grandfather’s laboratory with algal extracts and used up a total of 5,000 US dollars in two innovation competitions – a comparatively low base for research projects. Nevertheless, he succeeded in developing Vetigel®. His preparation imitates natural wound healing, writes Landolina in his capacity as new CEO of Suneris. When one sprays the viscous gel onto lesions, a dense network of polysaccharides of vegetable origin immediately forms over the wound. The bleeding is made to stop. At a later point fibrinoblasts are supposed to carry out their additional construction work around this structure, a process already familiar to us in classical wound healing. What’s more, this process according to Suneris is said to be accelerated here; the researchers however are found wanting in providing evidence for their hypothesis. Along with his colleagues, Joe Landolina hopes to contribute to extending capabilities in crisis regions or in response to accidents, in order to keep patients alive for surgical care.

Steak saved from haemorrhage

The story has all the motifs of the typical American dream. With regard to provable facts, the picture seems much less rosy. no publications on Vetigel® appear.in PubMed or in similar databases. The developer Joe Landolina also gets no mention. Are there perhaps registered studies on it in ClinicalTrials.gov? Negative! The US food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has no additional information to offer. And now? Landolina is marketing his product exclusively for veterinary use, something presenting significantly lower hurdles. The sum due per application is around 30 US dollars. Whether the patients are only dogs and cats is a matter left to the sole discretion of their owners or carers.

DocCheck has inquired to Suneris about the extent to which clinical data exists on its effects, as well as on potentially undesired side effects. At the time of this publication an answer had not been given by the company. Postings in the Suneris community also reveal themselves to be amazingly taciturn. Joe Landolina has expressed to US media that FDA officials would be granting him permission for tests on humans as soon as 2016. Whether, or when, one can expect its approval is still a great unknown. In the meantime, Landolina demonstrates via Youtube how steaks can be made to stop bleeding.

Lifesaving mineral

Is Vetigel® in actuality a quantum leap in bleeding treatment? This question is difficult to answer without data. Other companies have been doing research for years and have even brought their own products onto the market. For heavily bleeding wounds, the German Bundeswehr Medical Service relies on QuikClot®. US troops carry along QuikClot Combat Gauze® as part of their supplies. These compresses contain kaolin, which acts to soak up blood. This results in stable blood clots, and in blood loss being minimised. Meanwhile, a number of studies exists on its effects. The inert inorganic material is not absorbed by the body and can stay on the wounds until doctors take over. The manufacturer sees further applications in emergency centres and for police. The only downer: QuikClot® is not suitable for deep bites or gunshot wounds.

Foamy protection

This gap is something researchers at the University of Maryland wish to proverbially fill with an innovative foam. Their preparation is sprayed directly onto lesions, doubles its volume and hardens within a short time. No more blood appears at the site of the wound, as bioplastics and chemically modified chitosan induce clumping. In an experiment involving animals, around 90 percent less blood was lost thanks to the foam. Clinical tests are now supposed to follow. Research projects at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have managed to get significantly further.

“Internal bleeding is considered the most common cause of potentially survivable deaths on the battlefield”, write DARPA experts in a statement. In order to improve the survival of soldiers with abdominal trauma, paramedics may soon be injecting two fluids into the abdominal cavity of casualties. A rapid-curing foam presses on lesioned vessels and stops bleeding. In animal studies, such blood loss was able to be reduced when compared to another group by one sixth. After three hours, 72 percent of the animals were still alive, compared to eight percent with no foam.

War and peace

Once again it appears that the military’s very own research institutions dictate the line of approach in the field of emergency medicine. Perhaps Joe Landolina has without the multimillion-dollar budget of the army actually discovered a new principle. Let’s wait for the study data.

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