Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version

Summer 2010


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Interdepartmental Area of Engineering (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering), Under the Supervision of Professor William H. Velander. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Jennifer Calcaterra


Trauma deaths are a result of hemorrhage in 37% of civilians and 47% military personnel and are the primary cause of death for individuals under 44 years of age. Current techniques used to treat hemorrhage are inadequate for severe bleeding. Preliminary research indicates that fibrin sealants (FS) alone or in combination with a dressing may be more effective; however, it has not been economically feasible for widespread use because of prohibitive costs related to procuring the proteins. To meet future demands for hemostatic therapies, FS will likely include recombinant human fibrinogen (rFI) and recombinant human Factor XIII (rFXIII). The underlying hypothesis of the research presented in this dissertation is that a liquid fibrin sealant (LFS) composed of recombinant FI, FXIII and FIIa in optimized proportions can assist hemostasis in the presence and absence of a bioresorbable bandage while using considerably fewer biologics than commercial products currently available. This dissertation characterized rFI produced in the milk of transgenic cows, plasma-derived thrombin (pdFIIa) activated by sodium citrate and rFXIIIa expressed in genetically engineered Pichia pastoris with respect to their capacity to serve as components in a LFS. The ratios of these factors were optimized to yield a LFS with a rapid clot formation rate and high viscoelastic strength. This optimized LFS was preliminarily tested ex vivo and in vivo. The clotting kinetics and viscoelastic strength of our optimized LFS was equivalent to those of a commercially available LFS; however, it uses approximately 75% less fibrinogen and thrombin. Our optimal LFS successfully achieved hemostasis in a significant number of the wounds that included extensive tissue and vascular damage. LFS applied without the assistance of a dressing was able to stop bleeding of oozing wounds or those with small vessels; however, a scaffold was needed when wounds contained large vasculature.