Conflict Wound Pilot Grant: Novel Haemostatic Bandage

Successful immediate treatment of conflict wounds is important and determines survival chances. In conflict wounds, hemorrhage is the leading cause of death, while infection is the next leading cause. Dr Choon Hwai Yap and colleagues at Imperial College, London are developing technology with great promise of addressing both.

Currently, bandages used to stop conflict wounds rely on soaking up blood to cause clotting, inevitably leading to substantial loss of blood and high risks of death. When the bandages need to be removed, they tend to be stuck to blood clots, and the removal reopens wounds, leading to infection. Dr Yap and colleagues have discovered a new nanofibrous material design that has excellent wound bandage properties. The material can withstand high blood pressure without wetting, enabling it to avoid high blood loss when pressed on the wound, and yet it causes blood to clot quickly upon contact to stop bleeding. After clotting, since the material does not wet with blood, it detaches easily and painlessly from the clot without re-tearing the wound. The material also naturally resists bacteria attachment, allowing it to better maintain sterility. This technology is published and patented.

The team received a pilot grant which was part of our Centre for Conflict Wound Research funding. This generous grant was given to the Foundation by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds.

The team used their grant to research ways to optimize the material design to improve functionalities and to design and prototype conflict wound medical devices for eventual commercialization, including bandages for severe skin wounds, and filler sponges for deep gunshot wounds.

By stopping bleeding fast, their technology can reduce casualties in conflict wounds. By preventing infection, it can prevent health deterioration and medical procedures that are disfiguring.

Members of the CASEVAC Club are pictured above. The club act as the research partner for The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research. You can read about them here.

Project Overview

"In the current proposal, we aimed to advance a novel haemostatic material technology to work towards commercialization of it. Our novel haemostatic material strongly repels blood and does not soak in it, thus preventing blood loss when pressed on the wound. Yet, it causes fast clotting to seal the wound, and after clotting, it detaches with extreme ease without re-opening the wound, enabling safe dressing removal. We had three key advancements to enhance our ability to move forward on commercialization. Firstly, we discovered the mechanism by which our novel nanofibrous material could cause fast clotting. We found that this was through the activation of factor XII of the intrinsic pathway, which is similar to how the well-known haemostat, kaolin, achieves fast clotting. This information is important for eventual regulatory approval for our technology. Secondly, we showed that our material had low toxicity in human skin cell cultures and on human skin tissues, again enhancing our ability to achieve regulatory approval. We showed that a large concentration of the nanofibers did not reduce viability of the cells, and did not bring about cell deaths or DNA damage. Thirdly, we established methods to enhance our material by coating additives to them to enhance clotting performance. We achieved this by spray coating kaolin and chitosan particles and a binding polymer, in a manner that did not change its core properties, such as its hydrophobic repellency of blood. Overall, this Scar Free Foundation grant enabled us to bring our technology closer to regulatory approval and investor funding."

Dr Choon Hwai Yap

If you would like further information on this project, please contact Dr Yap, [email protected]

Download the project report