A new innovative bandage can stem heavy bleeding during surgery and prevent a patient from bleeding after surgery. The blood-stopping patch was developed by GATT Technologies in Nijmegen, Netherlands.
The blood-stopping bandage, the GATT Patch, can prevent many unpleasant complications. Recently the first patient in the Nijmegen Radboudumc received the patch during a liver operation.
It is, of course, very stressful and risky for both surgeons and patients if bleeding occurs during surgery. In many cases, however, this bleeding is serious and must be stopped effectively and quickly. There are agents, called hemostats, that can be used to make the blood clot quickly locally. There are also various sealants to reduce the risk of complications after surgery. But these are not necessarily easy to use and not always effective. Johan Bender, founder of GATT Technologies, outlines the problem this way: “Should there be any post-operative bleeding, this is an acute problem. Then the patient has to be opened again.”
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GATT (General Adhesive Tissue Tape) Technologies is based at the Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen. Since 2011, the company has focused entirely on developing a product that can stem heavy surgical bleeding during and after surgery. Bender is a pharmacist by trade and has been working in the world of medical devices for some time. After various discussions with surgeons, including Harry van Goor, Professor of Surgery at the Radboudumc, he decided to focus on a product that adheres well to wet surfaces, obviously a requirement during surgery.
During the first few years, research was mainly done on chemical compounds in the lab. Bender discovered that you can use polyoxazolines (POx) to make a body-degradable tape that remains flexible and sticks extremely well when wet. “The idea seemed so simple that I couldn’t imagine it hadn’t been thought of before,” says Bender. “But that turned out not to be the case.”
“The tape sticks extremely well when wet.”
Several scientists, including Jan van Hest, professor of Bioorganic Chemistry, and several teaching hospitals got involved. Among other things, a European ERDF grant was secured. In 2016, the preclinical phase started. Meanwhile, the patch is being investigated in a limited group of patients undergoing liver surgery. As part of the research, the Groningen University Medical Center and the Rotterdam Erasmus Medical Center are also treating patients with the blood-stopping bandages. In total, this involves a group of about 50 patients.
Like a velvet blanket
“Our POx polymer platform can be engineered into different products and can therefore be used in different ways,” explains Stuart Head, Chief Medical Officer at GATT. “A tape works well on intestines, the patch (or bandage) on the liver and other organs, and a gel is ideal for preventing leakage from blood vessels. A powder allows you to stem bleeding over a larger area.” Bender and Head compare the patch to a kind of velvet blanket you drape over a mountain landscape. “Because it’s flexible and can adhere to wet tissue anywhere, the drug covers well.”
The GATT patch has now entered the clinical phase and approval for its use in Europe will be sought later this year. The United States and approval with the FDA is the next step. The other applications for various tissues will then also enter the clinical phase. Head remarks: “The possibilities are promising. Actually, you can use it everywhere in the body, in various types of operations. We will continue to explore those applications in the coming years.”
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