In surgical setting, doctors often have to stop bleeding in one blood vessel while working on another. Now a Bay Area company believes it has a solution. It's a type of gauze, known commercially as BloodSTOP.
"The active ingredient is essentially cellulose, so it's plant material," said Jim Swick, Ph.D., the chief science officer at LifeScience PLUS.
The manufacturer of BloodSTOP is LifeScience PLUS in Mountain View. He demonstrated how the gauze works on a small veterinary cut. He says the cellulose material turns into a gel as it contacts blood, causing it to quickly clot.
"It essentially stops the bleeding from leaking blood vessels you're operating on," said Swick.
Drugstores began selling a consumer version of the gauze several months ago. The surgical version is still undergoing testing, but it follows a trend of new devices offering an alternative to clamps and sutures in specific situations. Last year we profiled a new material developed by researchers at Stanford to close surgical incisions without scarring. Other manufacturers have also developed gels designed to control bleeding in hospital environments.
"Arteries are high pressure system, and patients are on blood thinners, anti-platelet therapy, and they can have problems in controlling their bleeding and we can actually end up having a small hematoma," said John Rhee, M.D., an interventional radiologist, at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
Rhee is also a financial partner in LifeScience PLUS. He says BloodSTOP isn't designed to replace sutures, but still fills a useful niche for patients with bleeding issues.
"There are definitely cases where it just isn't quite good enough, but on the conventional patient who's on blood-thinning agents, who's ability to clot blood isn't very good, we found it to be outstanding," said Rhee.
The company hopes to have the safety data to apply for FDA approval for internal use within a year. In addition to surgery, the company believes BloodSTOP could have applications in other fields including dentistry.
Written and produced by Tim Didion