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Innovative wound healing treatment being tested in surgery

VitaSol is bottled energy for the cells.

The molecule at work is adenosine triphosphate--or ATP.

"Whenever there's poor blood flow to an area or low oxygen you're decreasing the amount of ATP--and that's the energy your body uses. We created vita sol, which delivers ATP, so you're not so reliant on oxygen and nutrients to keep tissue alive."

Doctor Bill Ehringer's research group is working on a grant from the national institutes of health to focus on how vita sol can be used during certain operating procedures.

For instance, tourniquets are used in surgery to create a bloodless operating field for the surgeon.

"To repair an ACL or other knee surgery, they put tourniquets on. It decreases the blood flow, but has to be released periodically to get the blood back to that tissue. Otherwise the whole limb could die."

"The idea is to perfuse the limb with VitaSol and keep it perfused so you don't have to worry about releasing the tourniquet."

Ehringer says the focus is to find out how often to apply the vita sol and how long it should be used.

"Once we prove it keeps tissue alive, with the tourniquet it can become a drug and then be used for tissue preservation, and transplanted tissue, and so on."

Ehringer says the potential exists for human clinical trials to be underway in the next year in wound healing.

Other applications for vita sol are being studied.

"All involve, in some way, the loss of oxygen and nutrients. The idea is to utilize VitaSol in times where oxygen and nutrients are low, keeping tissue alive or functional."

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