As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is the uncontrollable post-traumatic bleeding that is the leading cause of death in cases of potentially preventable death in trauma patients. Put simply; a severe injury is not the cause of death, the post-traumatic bleeding is. This is where the matrix gel comes in!
The matrix gel has been developed by a team of Chinese researchers. The team is hopeful that the matrix gel will enable them to be able to prevent hearts and arteries from bleeding uncontrollably in the future. According to the authors, all of the current hemostatic agents have the same problem; they can’t control hemorrhaging from traumatic cardiac wounds effectively. This is because ‘of their weak adhesion to wet and mobile tissues’ according to the team. The team is mostly comprised of researchers from Zhejiang University School of Medicine and has published its research in its Nature Communications paper.
The team took a different approach than coming up with a band-aid. It began work on trying to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM). All animals are comprised of cells and have an ECM or places in their body where carbohydrates and proteins form an intricate 3D mesh. The most abundant protein in the human body is collagen, and it can be found within the ECM. Collagen is also termed as the building block of the connective tissues of our body. Your teeth, joints, and muscles rely on the ECM for making sure that everything stays in place.
The hydrogel adhesive known as matrix gel has done exceptionally well in trials involving the hearts of pigs. For those who don’t know; the pig hearts have many similarities with human hearts. The team while discussing its findings, said, ‘It is the first time that high-pressure bleeding of beating heart with 6?mm diameter cardiac penetration holes were rapidly stopped and the wounds were stably sealed by only using matrix gel within 20?s without suture. Our data demonstrate that this synthetic gel … can rapidly stop bleeding from cardiac penetration injuries.’
According to Hongwei Ouyang, one of the study authors, the matrix gel will be ready within three to five years.