JCU-US Navy tackle battlefield trauma
May 23, 2012: - James Cook University’s Professor Geoffrey Dobson will collaborate with the US Navy to unravel the complexities of bleeding following massive blood loss on the “battlefield”.
The US Navy has this week sent JCU via Qantas a 300 kg crate of state-of-the-art equipment for real-time blood coagulation assessment to facilitate this research.
Professor Dobson said that working with the US Navy was an exciting development and they, along with members of the Australian Defence force, would be visiting JCU on a regular basis as part of the collaboration.
“Haemorrhage is responsible for 50% of trauma deaths on the battlefield and 30% to 40% of deaths in the civilian population, with one-third to one-half occurring in the pre-hospital environment,” Professor Dobson said.
“On the battlefield massive blood loss either from a gunshot or blast injury is caused in two ways: bleeding from the site of injury, and bleeding from the direct effect of the trauma thinning the blood.”
Currently, combat medics or emergency first responder teams have a limited range of pharmacological options for rescuing and stabilising the heart of soldiers or civilians following massive haemorrhage in the first few minutes of injury.
Professor Dobson and his team have developed an intravenous small volume fluid therapy (adenocaine and magnesium) that has multiple and unexpected benefits.
“The new fluid not only resuscitates the heart following severe haemorrhagic shock in the rat model but it also corrects the thinning of the blood,” he said.
The group plans to discuss further translation into larger animal models and human safety trials.
The US Navy is in the final stages of awarding Professor Dobson and his team a $200,000 contract through a JCU start-up company, Hibernation Therapeutics Global (adenocaine.com), to better understand the underlying mechanisms involved in thinning of the blood, and how quickly that can be corrected after the drug has been administered.
Professor Dobson is Chair of the Heart and Trauma Research Laboratory at JCU and his PhD Student Ms Hayley Letson won the prestigious Young Investigator Award for this work at the 2011 Resuscitation Science Symposium in Orlando, Florida, USA.
The laboratory has also recruited two students from the Biomedical Sciences program to gain experience in this field.
Issued: May 23, 2012
JCU Media Liaison, Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449