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New Gel to Stop Bleeding and Promote Healing

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If there is one field research will always continue in, it is medicine where new materials and techniques are constantly being developed. This work could eventually lead to new cures and treatments for accelerating healing. One example of this is advanced hydrogels that can promote the healing of tissues, and now researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have created one with the important property of being able to survive the flow of blood through it.

The hydrogel is a photocrosslinkable elastin-like polypeptide-based hydrogel, and as 'photocrosslinkable' suggests, the material reacts to light, forming strong, molecular bonds, which is important as it does not require any extra chemicals that could be toxic. It will then be digested by the body, and apparently without releasing any toxic chemicals, based on lab tests with living cells. Some other gels that are strong enough will become toxic as they degrade, and some biodegradable gels are too weak to endure blood flowing through them. The researchers also found that the light can be used to tune the hydrogel's strength and how much it swelled. It further was shown to be useable as a scaffold for cells to grow on and could contain silica nanoparticles, which can stop bleeding.

This one material could potentially help many lives, so the researchers are naturally looking forward to when it enters clinical trials, but much testing must be completed before then, to ensure it is safe to use in humans.

Source: Brigham and Women's Hospital

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