New surgical glue can seal wounds in less than a minute

A newly developed surgical adhesive is able to seal wounds much faster and more effectively than more traditional methods.
By Billy Kirk | Oct 06, 2017
A team of international researchers have developed an adhesive surgical glue that is able to seal deep cuts without needing any stitches or staples.

The gel is based off of a hybrid elastic protein known as methacryloyl-substituted tropoelastin (MeTro). It can be squirted onto both internal and external wounds to seal them up and encourage healing. Not only that, but the substance only takes 60 seconds to work and does not interrupt any of the organs natural functions.

"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," explained lead author Nasim Annabi a researcher at Northeastern University, according to Science Alert.

After the glue is applied to a wound it is put under an ultraviolet light to secure it. Researcher then further stabilize the substance by curing it on-site with a short light-mediated crosslinking treatment. That allows the sealant to be tightly bound to the surface tissue.

The study showed that wounds treated with MeTro can heal in half the time of ones treated with stitches or staples. It it also effective in surgery and, as it contains a degrading enzyme, it can be modified to only last a certain amount of time depending on the injury.

MeTro could be a big step forward because time is of the essence in critical situations. Being able to seal up a wound right away versus having to wait for stitches could be the difference between life and death.

While human trials have not been started yet, the team in the study has run successful tests on the organs of both rodents and pigs. The gel is the result of years of work, and researchers next plan to move onto larger studies. They hope to eventually develop it into a commercial product and make it a necessary part of any first responder's tool kit.

"We have shown MeTro works in a range of different settings and solves problems other available sealants can't," said study co-author Anthony Weiss, a researcher at the University of Sydney McCaughey, in a statement. 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."

The new research is outlined in the journal Science Translational Medicine.


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