Joe Landolina was only 17 when he invented a gel that could stop bleeding within a matter of seconds. Five years later and that product, now branded as Vetigel, will start being shipped in the United States.
Just not (yet) for humans.
Vetigel is a simple gel made from a natural algae-based polymer, which Landolina discovered can cooperate with the body’s native cellular clotting signals to accelerate hemostasis — the name of the process by which blood flow is stymied.
Landolina set up biotech company Suneris to manufacture and commercialise the gel, which has been found to stop major bleeding in less than 12 seconds, making it faster and therefore more effective at initiating hemostasis than any other method out there. It also forms like a mesh-like structure when applied to damaged tissue, which encourages the production of fibrin — a tissue-repairing protein — at the wound’s surface.
“Our goal is to have our products in every emergency room, soldier’s belt and operating room,” states Suneris on its website.
While there is obviously huge potential for Vetigel to be put to use in hospitals, on battlefields and even in the home, the first recipients of the healing technology will not be humans, but animals. Business Insider reports that Suneris will start to ship VetiGel to veterinarians this summer. The company is now accepting reservations for the product, which will consist of a five-pack of 5 ml syringes for $150.
Initially the product will only ship in the US, but earlier this year Suneris and British company VetPlus announced a ten-year manufacturing and distribution agreement that will see Vetigel made in the UK by the end of 2015.
“We are really excited to be involved with Joe and the team at Suneris. VETIGEL is a truly transformative product,” said David Haythornthwaite, chairman of VetPlus in a statement issued at the time.
“What VETIGEL delivers in terms of time savings and convenience makes a huge difference for veterinarians and pets,” added Landolina.
The product has been tested on animals by vets and in weekly feedback meetings between the vets and researchers, no negative side effects have yet been discovered. Vetigel hasn’t yet been tested on humans, but Landolina has told Business Insider that trials will begin as soon as the product receives FDA approval, which he expects to happen within the next year.
[ Wired UK ]