Drs. Suzie Pun and Nathan White are developing a medical polymer at the University of Washington with the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world each year.
Hemorrhagic shock from blood loss is one of the leading causes of death in people under the age of 45, often resulting from trauma incurred in accidents and on the battlefield. Prompt treatment can significantly improve the chance of survival, but current options are limited.
Pun, a professor of bioengineering, and White, an associate professor of emergency medicine, are creating a treatment to prevent hemorrhagic shock. PolySTAT, an easy-to-carry polymer, can be injected to affect internal wounds or applied directly to external wounds to help stanch blood flow. PolySTAT is effective within seconds of application and can mean the difference between a patient dying through exsanguination (“bleeding out”) or surviving long enough to receive appropriate medical treatment.
Following their success with small animal trials, Pun and White are using a $50,000 grant from WRF to scale up production of PolySTAT for testing in large animals. Their goal is for PolySTAT to be saving human lives within a decade.