Scientists swap metallic coils, classically used to treat aneurysms and uncontrolled hemorrhaging, with a a hydrogel that can hold its shape within a blood vessel to prevent bleeding.
The agent, tagged a shear-thinning biomaterial, is similar to toothpaste in consistency and is made up of both gelatin and nanoparticles. The research by a team of scientists led by Ali Khademhosseini, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the department of physics, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, developed the agent to overcome the limitations of the coils. In 47% of patients on blood thinning medications or in those who cannot form blood clots, dangerous break-through bleeding, with rebleeding, occurs when the coils are inserted into their blood vessels.
The new biomaterial doesn’t rely on the formation of blood clots to obstruct the vessel and halt bleeding. It can also withstand high pressure, and naturally degrades over time. It was tested on porcine models, whose blood vessels have similar dimensions to human’s. And the scientists plan to test it on humans next.
“This work is an example of how bioengineering can help address the challenges that clinicians and patients face,” says Khademhosseini of the research, published this month in Science Translational Medicine. “Our work thus far has been in the lab, but we are on a translational path to bring this new biomaterial for embolization to the clinic to improve patient care.”