"If the blood substitute works the way we hope it will, it could be the first major advance since the introduction of saline, or salt water, to replace volume after blood loss, around the time of World War I," said Dr. Richard L. Gamelli, principal investigator, chair of the Department of Surgery and professor of trauma surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Currently, patients can only receive blood in a hospital and that means a trauma victim may need to wait up to an hour for a transfusion following transport to the hospital and being typed and cross-matched.
"Saline, the current standard of care, helps us restore a patient's blood pressure but does not deliver oxygen, a critical nutrient to prevent organ damage in the brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys," Gamelli explained.
"Carrying blood in an ambulance isn't practical because it needs to be refrigerated, has a short shelf life and needs to be typed and cross-matched to the specific patient. In contrast, the blood substitute carries oxygen, has a long shelf life and is compatible with all blood types," said Gamelli, who also is chief of Loyola's Burn Center and director of Loyola's Burn and Shock Trauma Institute.
In order to receive approval for the field component of this clinical trial, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations
Contact: Stephen Davidow
Loyola University Health System