• UW researchers develop polymer to stop bleeding

    By: Joanna Small

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Researchers at the University of Washington invented a new substance that, if injected, can keep a person from bleeding to death.
     
    Inside a glass vial in a research lab at the University of Washington is the glue the team believes will hold you together after a traumatic injury.
     
    "We are really excited about it,” says Dr. Suzie Pun.
     
    She and her graduate students are in the lab simulating a blood clot. Then they add a polymer or a glue designed to find clots already forming naturally in the body and strengthen them.
     
    "We can inject it into the bloodstream, it will circulate around -- and when it sees a clot forming it will go in,” says Pun as her student holds the vial.
     
    It was Dr. Nathan White's idea. He's been in the Harborview ER for half a decade.
     
    "Bleeding is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in trauma,” he tells us.
     
    White has seen too many people bleed out on his table.

    "I can remember a particular case of a young man just graduating from high school; he had a full sports scholarship to college,” says White. That young man didn’t survive, but White says he might have if there had been access to PolySTAT. The idea is to stop the bleeding when someone is significantly injured in something like a car accident, buying them enough time, and saving them enough blood to be transported to a hospital and successfully treated there.

    It's been tested on rats and worked every time. We're still years away from FDA approval (according to?), but the doctors are confident it will be life-changing -- better yet, lifesaving.

    "This is potentially a very big deal, there is no therapy like this available right now," says White.

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