Exploring Oxygen-Generating Biomaterials for Ischemic Damage Prevention

David Remer

Traumatic battlefield extremity wounds often result in damage to not only the local tissue area, but also surrounding tissue due to interruptions in the vasculature. When blood cannot flow normally to this tissue, ischemia develops and tissue begins to die. Ischemia can also be intensified by a life-saving tourniquet application. When a traumatic extremity wound is sustained, a tourniquet is often applied to restrict further hemorrhage from the wound site; this tourniquet often stays in place for several hours in the course of transporting the wounded individual to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, removal of the tourniquet can cause additional reperfusion injury due to reactive species produced in the absence of blood flow. While tourniquet application may save the individual’s life, we desire for additional trauma to be minimized. Thus in this project, we are exploring the capability of certain injectable biomaterials to minimize or negate damage in situations where ischemia/reperfusion injury would normally occur. To accomplish this, we are using a murine tourniquet-application model and in-vivo muscle function testing. This work is part of the Extremity Regeneration program of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (ER-12; AFIRM). Our key faculty collaborators are Sean Murphy and James Yoo from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM).