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“Bandages” and “shrimp” are two words you don’t expect to hear in the same sentence. But for one Portland, OR-based company, they go together just fine.

HemCon Medical Technologies worked with the U.S. Army to develop a bandage made from chitosan, a naturally occurring, biocompatible substance derived from shrimp shells. The shells are processed, treated, formed into bandages and sterilized. The idea is that the chitosan attracts blood cells and seals a wound to allow the body to form a clot that stops hemorrhaging. And what if the patient has a shellfish allergy? HemCon says no known allergic reactions have occurred since the product launched in 2003.

Originally developed for use on the battlefield, the dressings are now used in acute-care settings through a distributorship agreement reached last fall with Dublin, OH-based Cardinal Health. Go to either www.hemcon.com or www.cardinalhealth.com to read more.

Jay Moore

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