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Novel Nanoparticles Could Save Soldiers' Lives After Explosions

Soldiers who suffer internal trauma from explosions might one day benefit from a new treatment now under development.

by American Chemical Society
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nanoparticle treatment diagramResearchers report in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Macro Letters that injecting a certain type of nanoparticle helped reduce lung damage in rats experiencing such trauma. The potential treatment, which could be given at the most critical moment immediately after a blast, could save lives.

Pamela J. VandeVord, Erin B. Lavik and colleagues explain that in today's conflict zones, explosions account for 79 percent of combat-related injuries. Internal bleeding in the lungs resulting from these blasts can lead to death. Soldiers with such injuries need medical attention within a few hours, but options for immediate treatment are lacking. VandeVord's team set out to fill this therapeutic void.

Building on past research in this area, the researchers paired clot-promoting nanoparticles with a corticosteroid that stops inflammation. They injected the particles in rats within 10 minutes of traumatic injury and found the therapeutic compound increased oxygen levels, and reduced internal bleeding and cellular damage in the lungs. The researchers conclude that the nanoparticles could be a good candidate to develop further for emergency trauma care.

The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health.