Project Lead(s): Christian Kastrup
Ninety-nine percent of all maternal deaths occur in resource-poor settings, with more than 30% of these deaths being attributed to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and blood loss.
Morbidity and mortality from PPH can largely be avoided through proper prevention, diagnosis and management. However, many women in resource-scarce settings do not have access to quality, assisted delivery by skilled birth attendants and therefore are at a high risk of PPH.
Delivering coagulants deep into damaged tissue during severe bleeding is challenging due to the outward flow of blood and, as a result, severe hemorrhaging is often fatal because the drugs cannot reach and clot blood at its source.
The project team aimed to develop an easy-to-use, low-cost technology to prevent blood loss, using FDA-approved substances.
The technology is based on simple, self-propelling particles that travel upstream through blood flow and clot blood at the source of damaged vessels.
Animal testing was coupled with a feasibility study showing that the treatment could be effectively distributed and used in low-income countries.
Study results show the potential for this approach to manage PPH.
In two mouse models of severe hemorrhage, self-propelling microparticles consisting of CaCO3 and an organic acid were an effective hemostatic. During hemorrhage, propulsion significantly reduced bleeding time and doubled the likelihood of halting hemorrhage.
In mice with lacerated livers, propulsion significantly reduced blood loss.
This knowledge was disseminated through conferences and was published in the journal Science Advances. A patent has also been published. Since the funding period, the technology has been tested and proven safe and effective in two large animal models of severe hemorrhage.
The next stage of the project would be to use the self-propelling particles to create a formulation that can move against blood flow and accumulate in uterine tissue, to stabilize clots in the microvasculature and prevent further blood loss, thereby improving patient outcomes and reducing the morbidity associated with PPH.
Preclinical and clinical feasibility studies must be completed, which are expected to cost $900,000 to $1,200,000.