A HUMAN PROTEIN-BASED SURGICAL GLUE
In a recent study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, biocompatible and highly elastic hydrogel sealants were shown to effectively close wounds in shape-shifting tissues without the need for commonly used staples or sutures.
Surgeons generally use a combination of staples, sutures and wires to join the wound edges together to repair ruptured or pierced organs and tissues. Thus, the wound is healed.
On the other hand, these procedures could be not easy to implement in hard-to-reach areas of the body, and wounds usually cannot be closed immediately. There is also the risk that the tissues will be damaged later and become infected.
Harvard University Professor Ali Khademhosseini and Northeastern University Assistant Professor Nasim Annabi has recently announced a new study offering a robust solution for the effective repair of wounds in mechanically challenging body regions: a surgical glue named MeTro.
Dr. Annabi said that an efficient surgical glue should be elastic, adhesive, non-toxic and biocompatible. He also explained the decision period of this study “”Many sealants in the market have one or two of these properties, but not all, so we decided to engineer a material having all these characteristics.”
Professor Khademhosseini, Dr. Annabi and colleagues in the United States and Australia showed that they are able to use MeTro to close incisions in the arteries and lungs of rats and to repair wounds in the lungs of pigs effectively, without the need for sutures and staples.
The researchers explained that “MeTro is the abbreviation of methacryloyl -substituted tropoelastin, which is a protein in elastic fibers that make up human tissue.”
High elasticity of MeTro provides that it could be utilized as sealant for the wounds in tissues such as lungs, hearts and arteries, which constantly expand and relax.
At the same time, this material also works in the internal wounds of hard-to-reach areas. In these regions, due to the surrounding body fluid, the effectiveness of other adhesives is hampered and staples or sutures are needed.
MeTro functions only in 60 seconds after being treated with UV light, and in this technology, there is a built-in degrading enzyme that can be modified to determine how long the sealant will last. Thus, the time required to heal the wound is allowed. It could be from hours to months.
Professor Khademhosseini “MeTro maintains its stability during the time required for wound healing to improve the mechanical conditions. Then, it degrades without showing any toxic activity.” said.
It is stated that MeTro meets all the properties of a versatile and effective surgical sealant with a potential beyond pulmonary and vascular suture and stape-less applications.
As Dr. Annabi stated, MeTro is able to solidify into gel-like phase when it contacts with tissue surfaces. He also added that “We stabilize it through light-mediated cross-linking process on place in a short time. This provides that sealant is placed precisely and it bonds tightly and interlocks with the tissue surface structures.”
University of Sydney Professor Anthony Weiss described that the process is very similar to the silicone sealants utilized around bath and kitchen tiles.
He added that MeTro acts like fluid. Thus, it fills all the gaps by conforming the shape of the wound.
It was stated that MeTro could respond very well biologically and it is in close contact with human tissue to improve healing. Storage condition of the gel is easy and could be directly used on wound or cavity.
MeTro has many potential application areas. It could be utilized to treat internal wounds at emergency sites. Thus, it has potential to use it in war zones or following car accidents.
Finally, Professor Weiss reminded that the clinical testing is the next step of this technology.
Publication: Nasim Annabi et al. 2017. Engineering a highly elastic human protein-based sealant for surgical applications. Science Translational Medicine 9 (410): eaai7466; doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai7466