Self-propelled Hemostatic Particles Find a New Home in Gauze and Spray Cartridges

By Amy Wong Strilchuk, PhD Candidate, Kastrup Lab

Self-propelled particles—What started as a “wouldn’t that be cool” idea has become a real technology that has gained the support of many groups that hope to some day see this product, on the front of both military and civilian lines, saving lives.

Dr. James Baylis

This work has been spearheaded by Dr. James Baylis, a postdoc and former PhD student in the lab of Dr. Christian Kastrup, who started this research back in 2012. The idea behind this technology was to create a material that could deliver therapeutics, like hemostatics, deep into wounds, overcoming the main challenge of being flushed out of tissue by flowing blood. The result? Microparticles containing calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and tranexamic acid, which, when exposed to blood, react to produce CO2 bubbles propelling the particles in all directions – including against blood flow. The particles can be enhanced by adsorbing other agents onto their surface, such as the potent procoagulant thrombin. Early success of these particles in solution, published in Science Advances, generated much excitement from colleagues at the CBR, and also grabbed the attention of larger organizations including the Canadian National Research Council, Canada’s Department of National Defense, and the American Department of Defense.

With the support of these organizations, this product has undergone major modification and enhancement. A recent application is loading dried particles into a device which can be loaded onto an air compressor which shoots the particles through a catheter to stop intra-abdominal hemorrhage. Preliminary results are positive [unpublished]; if this can be developed into an effective tool, it would be cause for celebration, as current treatments for intra-abdominal hemorrhage, compression wraps or balloon tamponades, are limited in their usage and efficacy. The most developed form of these particles is on a gauze pad, which can be packaged and stored for months, and then trigger that same propelled hemostatic reaction when applied to a bleeding wound. This would be particularly suited for military or first responders who need to stop massive bleeds quickly without access to equipment and resources like that found in a hospital. A study using gauze coated in microparticles was published in Shock; it tested this product on pigs with severe junctional hemorrhage. The results of this study were that the “prothrombotic microparticles [on gauze] improved survival and two indicators of hemorrhagic shock when applied without compression”.

Dr. Christian Kastrup

This product has been patented as CounterFlow, and the inventors, Drs. Christian Kastrup and James Baylis, now head up the company CoMotion which works to further develop and manufacture hemostatic products using the self-propelled particle technology. Established in 2017, CoMotion now has several employees including scientists, a clinician and a business specialist. Having recently completed his PhD in the department of Biomedical Engineering, Dr. James Baylis is a postdoc in the Kastrup lab and Chief Executive Officer for CoMotion: Go James!