Awards and recognition

UBC inventor of self-propelled coagulant wins grant from Grand Challenges Canada

Christian Kastrup, an Assistant Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has won a grant from Grand Challenges Canada to develop a low-cost, easily-administered treatment for post-partum bleeding for use in low-income countries.

Dr. Kastrup’s idea involves nano-sized coagulant particles that are surrounded by a water-sensitive propellant, which releases gas and energy when it comes into contact with blood. The resulting reaction drives the particles at a high velocity (more than 10 cm/sec) upstream against the flow of blood, allowing them to penetrate deep into areas of bleeding.

“If we put these particles onto a wound, the particles will fly all over, including upstream through blood, to the site of the hemorrhage, where they can clot blood and stop bleeding from occurring,” says Dr. Kastrup, who also is a member of the Michael Smith Laboratories and the Centre for Blood Research.

With the $100,000 grant from Grand Challenges Canada, Dr. Kastrup plans to determine, using animal models, the optimal combination of propellant and coagulant, and the optimal size of the particles necessary for penetrating deep into areas of bleeding without entering the circulatory system. He will also produce a feasibility study showing how this topical treatment can be distributed and used by non-experts in developing countries, presumably through commercial partners.

“It will have simple instructions, such as, ‘If you see a lot of blood, pour powder over the site of bleeding,’” Dr. Kastrup says.

The technology also could be used to treat bleeding during trauma.

His proposal was one of 17 selected from 60 submissions to the “Stars in Global Health” program of Grand Challenges Canada, which is funded by the federal government. Ideas that are proven to be effective will be eligible for additional funding up to $1 million.

Dr. Kastrup, who joined UBC in 2011, received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago, after which he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, holding a Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.