Archive for July, 2014

NTI-Funded Research Provides Guidance on Iron Supplementation for Critically Injured Patients

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Research funded by the National Trauma Institute finds that routine IV iron supplementation of anemic, critically ill trauma patients is not recommended.

Nearly all trauma patients admitted to the ICU are anemic, and the anemia is associated with poor outcomes, yet current therapies for ICU anemia are unsatisfactory. Intensivists inconsistently prescribe iron supplementation for critically ill patients, and it has been unclear whether the practice can overcome the iron debt enough to impact the patient positively. Also unclear is the relationship between iron supplementation and risk of infection.

The research conducted by Fredric M. Pieracci, MD, MPH, at the UC Denver medical campus and three participating academic sites set out to determine whether iron supplementation of anemic trauma patients positively affects outcomes.

They found that while supplementation increased the serum ferritin concentration significantly, it had no discernable effect on transferrin saturation, iron-deficient erythropoiesis, hemoglobin concentration or packed red blood cell transfusion requirements.

The research is published in Critical Care Medicine.

3D Bioprinting Shows Promise to Heal Traumatic Wounds

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Investigators within the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, or AFIRM, a consortium of about 30 universities, hospitals and other partners, say that 3D bioprinting technology may one day help the healing of traumatic injuries.

Through 3D bioprinting, cells that can grow new skin may be precisely applied to a wounded area. AFIRM researchers say one day a scientist could use a laser scan to create a map of a badly burned area. A computer program would interpret the map and indicate what types of cells to use where. Fibroblasts for the deeper layer of skin and keratinocytes for the surface layer would then be loaded into the bioprinter, which could place the cells precisely. The skin grown would be complete with sweat glands, hair follicles and proper pigmentation.

AFIRM researchers are also working on vascular printing, which could lead to the creation of muscle tissue, organs and limbs.

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Nanoparticles May Control Internal Bleeding

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports on a new type of artificial platelet that can be injected into the body to help form blood clots more quickly.

According to Erin Lavik, study author and an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, in the presence of extensive internal bleeding, there are often not enough natural resources to stop the loss of blood. But hemostatic nanoparticles, made from short polymer chains and peptides, act like tiny bridges, connecting the body’s activated platelets so that more and more cells can band together and form stronger blood clots.

In animal trials, the particles increased the survival rate of treated mice to 95 percent, compared to a 60 percent survival rate in the untreated mice.  And the injected mice survived for several weeks post-injection, indicating long-term success.

If efficacy is proven in human trials, the product could have significant application both on the battlefield and at home. Blast exposure resulting in uncontrolled bleeding accounts for 79 percent of all combat-related injuries. It is the leading cause of death on the battlefield.  What’s more, uncontrolled bleeding from car accidents, blows and falls is one of the leading causes of death among Americans.

Read more.