Dr. Galen Stucky , a professor of chemistry at UCSB, has been awarded the Department of Defense’s Advanced Technology Applications for Combat Casualty Care Award (ATACCC) for his assistance in the research and development of a gauze that clots blood, helping save soldiers who sustain grave injuries. “I am very honored,” said Stucky upon receiving the award. Calling the project the most meaningful of his 40-year career Stucky added, “The most important aspect of this work is the thought that it is providing life support that is needed on an immediate-response basis to both military and civilian personnel.”
The Office of Naval Research asked Stucky and his colleagues to improve an existing brand of blod-clotting gauze, QuikClot, in 2004. The gauze was effective in sealing off wounds but had the unexpected tendency to cause second degree burns. It was Stucky’s task to find a way to neutralize this malfunction and he was given a deadline of six months.
Stucky and his team not only developed a cooler version of the gauze, they also found a way to enhance its clotting properties. Kaolin clay, which is commonly used in ceramics but also in medicine, was found to have the same clotting properties but without the added heat generation. By infusing silver ions into the gauze Stucky also was able to bolster its antimicrobial abilities.
After a battery of tests the Navy Medical Research Center found Stucky’s reformulated QuikClot to be an effective solution to the problem and it is now in use in both military and civilian medical facilities. As for Stucky he says his next project is to develop a way to stop internal bleeding through blood-borne intervention.