Published On: Sun, Oct 8th, 2017

Magical Glue Seals Wounds in Just 60 Seconds

 

A novel surgical glue developed by researchers from the United States and Australia seals wounds in just 60 seconds once treated with UV light, without the need for common staples or stitches. The potentially life-saving surgical glue, called MeTro, it still needs to be tested on humans.

MeTro was developed by a collaboration of researchers from the University of Sydney, Harvard Medical School, and Northeastern University.

The highly elastic and adhesive surgical glue makes it ideal for treating wounds in body tissues both external, such as skin and internal tissues. It works on internal wounds that are often in hard-to-reach areas due to surrounding body fluid hampering the effectiveness of other sealants. It works also in parts that continually expand and relax, such as lungs, hearts, and arteries, that are otherwise at risk of re-opening.

In tests, the liquid or gel-like material has quickly and successfully sealed incisions in the arteries and lungs of rodents, and in the lungs of pigs. In all cases, the substance worked without the need for sutures or staples.

The results of this work have been published in Science Translational Medicine.

 

 

MeTro combines the natural elastic protein technologies- inspired by the human protein tropoelastin- with light-sensitive molecules. The injectable compound is also equipped with a built-in degrading enzyme, which can be adjusted to determine how long the sealant lasts. It can be anywhere from a few hours through to months depending on nature of the injury.

Lead author of the study, Assistant Professor Nasim Annabi at Northeastern University said: “The beauty of the MeTro formulation is that, as soon as it comes in contact with tissue surfaces, it solidifies into a gel-like phase without running away.”

The University of Sydney’s Professor Anthony Weiss said the next stage for the technology is clinical testing. Professor Weiss described the process as resembling that of silicone sealants used around bathroom and kitchen tiles.

“When you watch MeTro, you can see it act like a liquid, filling the gaps and conforming to the shape of the wound,” he said.

“It responds well biologically, and interfaces closely with human tissue to promote healing. The gel is easily stored and can be squirted directly onto a wound or cavity.

“The potential applications are powerful – from treating serious internal wounds at emergency sites such as following car accidents and in war zones, as well as improving hospital surgeries.”

Professor Khademhosseini from Harvard Medical School emphasise: “MeTro seems to remain stable over the period that wounds need to heal in demanding mechanical conditions and later it degrades without any signs of toxicity; it checks off all the boxes of a highly versatile and efficient surgical sealant with potential also beyond pulmonary and vascular suture and staple-less applications,” he said, “I hope MeTro will soon be used in the clinic, saving human lives.”

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