rebelling against low expectations

Joe Landolina, Age 17: Invented Remarkable Way to Stop Bleeding

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(Business Insider) — Imagine this: You’re gushing blood. Nothing seems to make it stop. Then you apply a gel to your wound, and the bleeding stops within seconds. You’re healed in minutes.

This is the premise of VetiGel, an algae-based polymer created by Joe Landolina — a 22 year-old who invented the product when he was just 17.

Landolina is now the cofounder and CEO of Suneris, a biotech company that manufactures the gel. Suneris announced last week that it would begin to ship VetiGel to veterinarians later this summer. Humans won’t be far behind.

When injected into a wound site, the gel can form a clot within 12 seconds and permanently heal the wound within minutes, Landolina says.

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“The fastest piece of equipment we have measures every 12 seconds,” Landolina tells Business Insider. “So we know that it happens in less than 12 seconds.”

The science that makes this all possible is surprisingly basic.

Each batch of gel begins as algae, which is made up of tiny individual polymers. If you break those polymers down into even tinier pieces, “kind of like Lego blocks,” Landolina says, you can put them into the gel and inject that gel into a wound site.

Once it hits the damaged tissue, whether it’s open skin or a biopsied soft organ — livers, kidneys, spleens — the gel instantly forms a mesh-like structure.

“What that means, on the one hand, is that the gel will make a very strong adhesive that holds the wound together,” Landolina says. “But on the other hand, that mesh acts as a scaffold to help the body produce fibrin at the wound’s surface.”

Fibrin helps repair tissue over the long-term. It’s what allows VetiGel not only to work fast in sealing leaks, but to actually heal the skin. Within a few minutes of application, the gel can be safely removed.

From classroom to company

As fast-acting as VetiGel is, its inventor may be faster.

Landolina invented an early version of the gel out of his grandfather’s lab. He was still in high school.

Keep Reading → (Business Insider)

Read More → (NYU Alumni Magazine)

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About the author

Brett Harris

is co-founder of TheRebelution.com and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who blogs at AnaHarrisWrites.com. He is the founder of the Young Writers Workshop — an ongoing coaching program for serious writers.

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