New super-flexible surgical glue can seal wounds in seconds: study
Australian and U.S. scientists say they have created a highly-elastic surgical glue that can quickly seal even the toughest wounds, without staples or stitches.
The new glue is said to be ideal for closing up difficult-to-seal wounds in tissues that repeatedly expand and relax, such as lungs, hearts and arteries.
Tissue adhesives are not new and have been increasingly used in place of stitches or staples to close wounds. They are often quicker and easier to use than stitches for closing wounds and don’t create puncture marks.
But many of the currently available adhesives can unseal easily, don’t adhere well in surgical sites with a lot of fluid, and are not flexible enough to handle expansion.
Biomedical engineers from the University of Sydney and three medical institutions in Boston, Mass., say they may have solved that problem with an adhesive material they say can close up internal wounds that have typically required staples or stitches.
The adhesive, called MeTro, fills in wounds easily and sets in just 60 seconds once treated with UV light. The material also contains a degrading enzyme that can last from hours to months, depending on how it’s been modified, dissolving once the wound has had enough time to heal.
In a paper published this week in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers say their gel-like material has quickly and successfully sealed incisions in the arteries and lungs of rodents and the lungs of pigs.
The lead author of the study, Nasim Annabi, an assistant chemical engineering professor at Northeastern University in Boston, says the adhesive goes on like a liquid and then conforms to the shape of the wound.
“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,” she said in a statement.
Co-author Anthony Weiss, a biochemistry professor at the University of Sydney, says the adhesive can seal wounds that other adhesives can’t.
“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,” he said.
The next stage, he said, is to test the adhesive on humans in clinical trials.
“We’re now ready to transfer our research into testing on people. I hope MeTro will soon be used in the clinic, saving human lives,” he said.