MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It looks like a simple caulking gun. But it’s no ordinary tool.
“The potential impact is truly revolutionary,” says Dr. David King.
Dr. King, a trauma surgeon, has seen the horror of battle up close in war zones as an Army medic.
“Guys who have to be pronounced dead because they have an injury that could be fixed but they died before you could even get your hands on them,” said Dr. King. “Extremely frustrating.”
To give these wounded warriors a fighting chance Dr. King has teamed up with Arsenal Medical to develop a so-called trauma foam.
“It’s really about taking someone who is going to die and giving them a couple of hours to get to a surgeon where once you get to a surgeon you have a pretty good chance of survival,” explains Dr. Upma Sharma, the director of material science at Arsenal Medical.
Once a soldier is hit with enemy fire or a road-side bomb it’s crucial to stop internal bleeding. That’s where this foam comes in.
This is “an intervention that can be done on the ground, in the mud, on the battlefield,” explains Dr. King.
Once injected into the body the foam quickly expands to fill the abdominal cavity. This applies life-saving pressure and can stabilize the patient. Once the patient reaches an operating room the foam can be easily peeled away.
While the foam was designed for combat it could save lives here at home too.
Dr. Sharma says, “we’re learning that there is a really large civilian need as well,” like car crashes, a gunshot wound or even a bad fall.
Until now the foam has been a virtual success in sci-fi video games. Fans of the video game “Halo” know it as Bio-foam. And thanks to a $25 million grant from the Department of Defense, Arsenal Medical’s real-life foam could win FDA approval later this year.