Oxygen Producing Gel
When tissues in the body are deprived of oxygen, the irreversible process of tissue death begins. For example, if immediate medical attention isn’t available when a traumatic wound damages blood vessels in the leg, the tissue may begin to decompose and amputation is often required.
But what if there was a way to temporarily provide oxygen to muscle tissue and keep it alive until surgery could restore the blood supply?
A team of scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is working to develop an injectable gel that could do just that. The project is part of an $85-million federally funded program to apply regenerative medicine therapies to battlefield injuries.
The goal is to develop a treatment that medics could carry with them – as a way to buy time and provide a temporary burst of oxygen until a patient could get medical treatment.
The technology may also have other applications, such as organ transplantation. The idea would be to provide oxygen to donated organs as a way to increase the amount of time they can safely remain outside the body before transplantation.
The gel is made from a peroxide-based chemical that generates oxygen. The team’s challenge is to optimize the gel to produce specific amounts of oxygen. In preliminary studies, the team has assessed the gel’s biocompatibility and its ability to keep tissue in a viable state outside the body. Early testing has been promising and the group continues to refine the technology, including working to prolong the length of oxygen production for extended release.