Self-propelled Powder Designed to Stop Severe Bleeding


News Brief by Steven Hefter

           Christian Kastrup, an assistant professor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia, knows that bleeding is the number one cause of death among young people and that postpartum hemorrhage is an extreme maternal health problem in underserved areas. That is why he has collaborated with researchers, biochemical engineers, and emergency physicians to create the first self-propelled particles capable of delivering coagulents against the flow of blood to treat severe bleeding.               

      Specifically, these particles are simple, gas-generating calcium carbonate micro-particles that exist in powder form and hinder critical bleeding. They work by releasing carbon dioxide gas to thrust them toward the bleeding. The carbonate forms porous micro particles that bind with the clotting agent tranexamic acid in order to bring through wounds and into the damaged tissue.    

     Before the product can be brought to market, many clinical trials must be run to assess its efficacy. The researchers have used two animal models to confirm their findings and hypotheses of the in vitro movement of the particles. In a hypothetical scenario that imitated a potentially fatal event, such as a gunshot wound to a femoral artery, the particles were effective.

       Kastrup was motivated to create these particles because, despite the many blood-clotting agents, it has been difficult to get these treatments far enough upstream to reach the leaking blood vessels and curb severe bleeding. The more established treatments struggle to limit severe bleeding that originates within the body. These particles are the first treatment that will be able to do that, thus serving as a potential breakthrough in trauma care.

University of British Columbia. (2015, October 2). Self-propelled powder designed to stop severe bleeding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 12, 2015 from