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New surgical glue heals wounds in 60 seconds

The Future of Medicine
New surgical glue heals wounds in 60 seconds
By Fanny Bates

TP 201901 future 01

绐佺牬鎬ф墜鏈矘鑳惰兘鍦60绉掑唴绮樺悎浼ゅ彛


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Not a day passes that we don鈥檛 read about different accidents happening all around the world. Terrorist attacks and car and plane accidents have become a part of our daily routines. Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. Moreover, the university鈥檚 Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) program found there were 10,900 terrorist attacks around the world last year, which killed a total of 26,400 people. These are quite the numbers, right? Imagine trying to get medical assistance in these situations, it wouldn鈥檛 be easy. However, throughout the decades, scientists tried to invent materials which could serve as a self-help emergency procedure, at least until the medics arrive. During the Vietnam War, emergency medics began using the all-purpose glue to seal battle wounds in troops headed for surgery. The glue was so good at stemming bleeding that it was credited with saving many lives.

 

Nowadays, professional athletes often close small cuts with some super glues or similar products to get back in the game. It is believed that the new type of glue made from the chemical tropoelastin wouldn鈥檛 only stop the bleeding process quickly, but also will lead to less scarring.

TP 201901 beauty 07

The surgical glue MeTro to save millions of lives

The new study, led by Harvard University Professor Ali Khademhosseini and Northeastern University Assistant Professor Nasim Annabi, presents a robust solution for the efficient repair of wounds in different body areas - a surgical glue called MeTro. Developed as a very stretchy surgical glue, it represents a huge breakthrough in biochemistry. It has the potential to save lives in emergency situations and to be used for all kinds of medical procedures. This squirtable substance even replaces the need for stitches or staples. While trying to develop this type of compound, researchers came across to a similar substance inside our own body, which has these types of characteristics. It is the human protein called tropoelastin. The application of this type of material is also quite easy; to activate it on to the wound, all we need is a continual stream of UV light. It takes only about a minute to apply and set the material in.

 

For a long time, there were no new innovative technologies when it comes to repairing ruptured and pierced organs and tissues. For decades, surgeons and other medical staff have used staples, or sutures, or wires to hold the wound edges together. Nevertheless, these kinds of procedures are extremely hard to perform for the surgeons, since they sometimes deal with hard-to-reach areas of the body. The researchers say the gel can replace traditional staples or sutures and can more easily treat internal wounds that are often hard to reach. It is also very common for the wounds not to heal immediately after the procedure, and the new surgical glue could heal the wounds in 60 seconds.

 

For a surgical sealant to be considered as good, it needs to meet certain criteria. 鈥淚t needs to be elastic, adhesive, non-toxic and biocompatible,鈥 Dr. Annabi said. 鈥淢ost of the sealants that are currently being used in surgeries possess only one or two of those characteristics. Professor Annabi and his colleagues from the USA and Australia demonstrated that MeTro 鈥渃an be photochemically tuned to effectively seal incisions in arteries and lungs of rats, and to repair wounds in the lungs of pigs, all suture and staple-free.鈥

TP 201901 beauty 08Why is MeTro surgical glue unique?

The thing that makes MeTro unique is its high elasticity feature that is ideal for sealing wounds in body tissues that are at risk of re-opening. These body parts are lungs, arteries or hearts. MeTro is shorthand for tropoelastin which is a protein derived from the elastic fibers, substances out of which human tissues are made.

 

Another great feature of MeTro is that it has a technologically built-in enzyme which can be programmed to determine how long the sealants last. That could range from hours to months, depending on the time needed for the wound to heal. MeTro gel also represents a solution for not only tissue regeneration, but repair, effectively healing and sealing incisions at the same time. Later it degrades in a natural way without harming the tissue and without any signs of toxicity. The application for such a product is enormous, whether it is used in emergencies, surgeries, battle wounds etc. The researchers have finished testing it on animals, and hope to start testing it on humans in the near future.

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