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TEDGlobal 2014

Joe Landolina: This gel can make you stop bleeding instantly

October 14, 2014

Forget stitches -- there's a better way to close wounds. In this talk, TED Fellow Joe Landolina talks about his invention -- a medical gel that can instantly stop traumatic bleeding without the need to apply pressure. (Contains medical images.)

Joe Landolina - medical inventor
Joe Landolina is a TED Fellow and the inventor of VETI-GEL. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
I want you guys to imagine
that you're a soldier
00:12
running through the battlefield.
00:15
Now, you're shot in the leg with a bullet,
00:17
which severs your femoral artery.
00:19
Now, this bleed is extremely traumatic
00:21
and can kill you in less
than three minutes.
00:23
Unfortunately, by the time that a medic
00:26
actually gets to you,
00:28
what the medic has on his or her belt
00:30
can take five minutes or more,
00:32
with the application of pressure,
to stop that type of bleed.
00:34
Now, this problem is
not only a huge problem
00:37
for the military, but it's
also a huge problem
00:40
that's epidemic throughout
the entire medical field,
00:42
which is how do we actually look at wounds
00:45
and how do we stop them quickly
00:48
in a way that can work with the body?
00:50
So now, what I've been working
on for the last four years
00:52
is to develop smart biomaterials,
00:55
which are actually materials that will work
00:58
with the body, helping it to heal
01:00
and helping it to allow the
wounds to heal normally.
01:02
So now, before we do this, we
have to take a much closer look
01:06
at actually how does the body work.
01:10
So now, everybody here knows
01:12
that the body is made up of cells.
01:14
So the cell is the most basic unit of life.
01:16
But not many people know what else.
01:18
But it actually turns out that your cells
01:21
sit in this mesh of complicated fibers,
01:23
proteins and sugars
01:26
known as the extracellular matrix.
01:28
So now, the ECM
01:30
is actually this mesh that
holds the cells in place,
01:32
provides structure for your tissues,
01:35
but it also gives the cells a home.
01:37
It allows them to feel what they're doing,
01:39
where they are, and tells them
01:41
how to act and how to behave.
01:43
And it actually turns out that
the extracellular matrix
01:45
is different from every
single part of the body.
01:48
So the ECM in my skin
01:51
is different than the ECM in my liver,
01:52
and the ECM in different
parts of the same organ
01:54
actually vary, so it's very difficult
01:57
to be able to have a product
01:59
that will react to the
local extracellular matrix,
02:01
which is exactly what we're trying to do.
02:04
So now, for example,
think of the rainforest.
02:06
You have the canopy,
you have the understory,
02:08
and you have the forest floor.
02:11
Now, all of these parts of the forest
02:12
are made up of different plants,
02:14
and different animals call them home.
02:16
So just like that, the extracellular matrix
02:18
is incredibly diverse in three dimensions.
02:21
On top of that, the extracellular matrix
02:23
is responsible for all wound healing,
02:26
so if you imagine cutting the body,
02:29
you actually have to rebuild
02:31
this very complex ECM
02:33
in order to get it to form again,
02:35
and a scar, in fact, is actually
02:37
poorly formed extracellular matrix.
02:38
So now, behind me is an animation
02:42
of the extracellular matrix.
02:44
So as you see, your cells sit
in this complicated mesh
02:45
and as you move throughout the tissue,
02:48
the extracellular matrix changes.
02:51
So now every other piece
of technology on the market
02:53
can only manage a two-
dimensional approximation
02:56
of the extracellular matrix,
02:59
which means that it doesn't fit in
03:00
with the tissue itself.
03:02
So when I was a freshman at NYU,
03:04
what I discovered was
you could actually take
03:06
small pieces of plant-derived polymers
03:08
and reassemble them onto the wound.
03:10
So if you have a bleeding
wound like the one behind me,
03:13
you can actually put
our material onto this,
03:16
and just like Lego blocks,
03:18
it'll reassemble into the local tissue.
03:20
So that means if you put it onto liver,
03:22
it turns into something
that looks like liver,
03:24
and if you put it onto skin,
03:26
it turns into something
that looks just like skin.
03:28
So when you put the gel on,
03:30
it actually reassembles
into this local tissue.
03:31
So now, this has a whole
bunch of applications,
03:34
but basically the idea is,
wherever you put this product,
03:38
you're able to reassemble
into it immediately.
03:41
Now, this is a simulated arterial bleed —
03:44
blood warning —
03:46
at twice human artery pressure.
03:48
So now, this type of bleed
is incredibly traumatic,
03:49
and like I said before,
would actually take
03:52
five minutes or more with pressure
03:54
to be able to stop.
03:56
Now, in the time that it takes
me to introduce the bleed itself,
03:57
our material is able to stop that bleed,
04:00
and it's because it actually
goes on and works
04:02
with the body to heal,
04:05
so it reassembles into this piece of meat,
04:06
and then the blood actually recognizes
04:09
that that's happening,
and produces fibrin,
04:12
producing a very fast clot in less than 10 seconds.
04:14
So now this technology — Thank you.
04:18
(Applause)
04:20
So now this technology, by January,
will be in the hands of veterinarians,
04:28
and we're working very diligently to
try to get it into the hands of doctors,
04:32
hopefully within the next year.
04:35
But really, once again, I
want you guys to imagine
04:37
that you are a soldier running
through a battlefield.
04:40
Now, you get hit in the leg with a bullet,
04:42
and instead of bleeding
out in three minutes,
04:43
you pull a small pack
of gel out of your belt,
04:47
and with the press of a button,
04:49
you're able to stop your own bleed
04:50
and you're on your way to recovery.
04:51
Thank you very much.
04:53
(Applause)
04:55

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Joe Landolina - medical inventor
Joe Landolina is a TED Fellow and the inventor of VETI-GEL.

Why you should listen
Joe Landolina is a TED Fellow and the inventor of a gel that can instantly stop traumatic bleeding -- without the need to apply pressure. He recently built a state of the art manufacturing facility in Brooklyn, New York to bring the product to market.
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