The news: Imagine a gel that can adopt the surface properties of whatever organ it's placed on and imagine that it can also stop internal and external bleeding in ten seconds flat.
It might sound like science fiction, but it's actually about to become reality.
Joe Landolina was just a 17-year-old student at New York University when he came up with the idea of Veti-Gel, a topically applied product that stops bleeding in mere seconds.
The gel received widespread interest and media coverage when it was first announced a year ago, but Landolina is now 21 and has improved his gel, making it finally ready for veterinary use, bringing it one step closer to application in human medicine.
How does it work? According to the official website, Veti-Gel stops bleeding by "activating three methods of hemostasis simultaneously: holding in its own pressure, activating the body's platelets, and forming a fibrin clot, all on the wound surface."
But the coolest part is that the gel is made out of plant-derived extracellular matrix (ECM), a polymer that serves as scaffolding for cells and tells them what to do. "The gel is broken down into small pieces, kind of like Lego blocks, and when it's placed on a wound, it rebuilds itself into the pattern of the existing ECM. If you put the gel on skin, it will have the properties of skin. If you put it next to the liver, it will take on the properties of the liver," explains Fast Company.
Check out this video of Veti-Gel in action (warning: blood):
This has huge implications for medicine. While Veti-Gel is being marketed to veterinarians right now, it has huge potential to be used in battlefields and trauma surgeries once it is approved for human use (which will hopefully happen in the next year). "Trauma surgeons today just wrap the liver in gauze, try to control bleeding, use transfusions. There's no homeostatic product to address the problem. We've found we can stop bleeding in less than one minute," Landolina told Fast Company.
While Landolina's company is still researching all the possible applications for Veti-Gel, one things is already clear: This can truly transform modern medicine and it all came from the mind of an enterprising 17-year-old.
h/t Fast Company