I first wrote on October 14, 2006 about a liquid that quickly self-assembles into a solid gel upon contact with blood, sealing the wound quickly. At that time, it appeared that military use of this type of substance was 8-10 years away from 2006. However, it appears that progress has accelerated, and we are much closer to market availability than it initially appeared. An update on the progress is posted this week in MIT Technology Review.
The material consists of naturally occurring amino acids that have been engineered to form peptides that spontaneously cluster together to create long fibers when exposed to salty, aqueous environments, such as those found in the body. The fibers form a mesh that serves as a physical barrier to blood and other fluids.
Needless to say, this could save many lives on the battlefield, in car crashes, and during surgery. If it becomes inexpensive enough, it could even be part of home first-aid kits. Arch Theraputics is the company that is licensing the technology from MIT, and clinical trials are set to begin soon.
Let's hope the next hurdles are quickly cleared.