A New York University student has developed a revolutionary product that can save lives, both on an off the battlefield. Joe Landolina of New York developed Veti-Gel, which uses plant-based polymers that quickly solidify when applied to open wounds. He originally dubbed his creation ‘Medi-Gel’, not knowing that the moniker had already been used for a fictional gel used in the Mass Effect video game series that exhibits similar properties.
Tests conducted by Landolina show that Veti-Gel can almost immediately stanch bleeding. The substance mimics the extracellular matrix found on human skin. This matrix is a mesh of molecules consisting of sugars and proteins that holds human cells in place. By synthesizing an extracellular matrix (ECM) of his own from plant polymers, Landolina’s Veti-Gel forms a liquid when broken up into pieces. When it enters the wound, the pieces of the synthesized ECM in the Veti-Gel recognize the human ECM in the wound and thus link up. It ultimately re-assembles into an approximation of human skin.
Landolina has not entered into formal negotiations with the U.S. military, but has had exchanges with DARPA – the Defense Department’s research branch. The military would be a natural customer for Veti-Gel in order to save wounded warriors on the battlefield. Currently, blood-clotting agents used by the military require the application of pressure and take several minutes to take effect.
Vet-Gel does not only stop bleeding but also aids in healing. It serves as a tissue adhesive and holds its own pressure on the wound so that a medic, for example, need not apply pressure. It also activates Factor 12, or fibrin, when it comes into contact with blood. It also activates the platelet cells in human blood and causes them to bind to the fibrin and creates an effective seal.
It was as a high school student that Landolina became engaged in tissue engineering and bioengineering. After high school, Landolina’s product began to attract attention. In 2011, he and his partner Isaac Miller won competitions with Veti-Gel and eventually started their own company, Suneris Inc. Landolina is currently studying towards his bachelor’s degree in biomolecular and chemical engineering, as well as a master’s degree in biomedical engineering.