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November 29th, 2006
A matter of life and death on the battlefield
Uncontrolled bleeding can kill a soldier in minutes, so new techniques and drugs are vital to save lives.
Nanotechnology may be one possibility for the future. In experiments with animals, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hong Kong University researchers have shown that bleeding can be stopped in seconds - far faster than present methods. A liquid made from peptides (protein fragments) is applied to open wounds. The peptides self-assemble into a nanoscale protective barrier gel. This seals the wound, stops the bleeding in less than 15 seconds and eventually breaks down into molecules that cells can use for tissue repair.
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