By the spring of 1945, Pauling had virtually given up on the project. He had resigned
from his position as responsible investigator and allowed Dan Campbell to take his
place. For years Pauling's other research had been suspended in favor of war projects,
but with the plasma substitute project virtually non-functioning, Pauling was now
able to return to his long-dormant work. As a result, his Oxypolygelatin program was
relegated to correspondence with gelatin manufacturers and a few curious scientists.
In a letter to Chester Keefer of the Committee on Medical Research, Pauling stated,
"I feel that the development of Oxypolygelatin has been delayed by a full twelve months
by the failure of the CMR to arrange for the physiological testing of the preparation,
despite the assurances to me, beginning July 24, 1943, that this testing would be
carried out under CMR arrangement. I feel that I myself am also to blame, for having
continued to rely upon the CMR, long after it should have been clear to me that the
promised action was not being taken and presumably would not be taken."
The project was dead. The CMR had lost interest and no lab in the country was either
willing or capable of performing the tests that Pauling required. Even worse for the
project, Germany was on the brink of surrender and Japan was losing ground in the
Pacific; the war would be over soon and with victory would come the closure of war
research programs all over the country. The team quietly disbanded, each member returning
to old tasks or starting up fresh lines of research. In 1946 Pauling, Koepfli and
Campbell filed for a patent for Oxypolygelatin and its manufacturing process, which
they immediately transferred to the California Institute Research Foundation.
In 1947 the American Association of Blood Banks was founded and in 1948 the American
National Red Cross began widespread blood donation campaigns. The creation of these
two programs allowed for large supplies of fresh blood to be dispersed throughout
the U.S. hospital system on a regular basis, virtually eliminating the need for a
plasma substitute during peacetime.
While Pauling was the source of many scientific breakthroughs during his career, in
the end, Oxypolygelatin appeared to be a failed project. Over the following years,
he would occasionally discuss his blood plasma work with an interested scientist or
mention it in a symposium address, but he never returned to the Oxypolygelatin problem.
Years later he was told that the gel had been used by U.S. forces during the Korean
War and that, in some case, Los Angeles motorcycle police were even equipped with
it for fast response in traffic accidents. Though Pauling was never able to confirm
these reports, it is plausible that Oxypolygelatin more of a future than Pauling or
his colleagues knew.