Doctors generally use staples or sutures to close open wounds. However, neither of these methods creates a complete seal. It gets even trickier when it comes to internal injuries that are difficult to get to, or wounds on organs that move around a lot, such as lungs. Newly created sealants are capable of providing a solution to these problems, but they all have yet to meet the requirements of an effective surgical tool.
Now, scientists have developed a new type of sealant that may actually provide the most cohesive solution to closing wounds, Engadget reports. Nasim Annabi of Northeastern University, one of the authors on the study, said,
A good surgical sealant needs to have a combination of characteristics: it needs to be elastic, adhesive, non-toxic and biocompatible.
He further explained, “Most sealants on the market possess one or two of these characteristics, but not all of them. We set out to engineer a material that could have all of these properties.”
This new kind of super-glue, called MeTro, is designed to be biocompatible, as it’s created with proteins similar to those found in elastin in humans. Changing the concentrations of those proteins allowed the team to create the sealant in a variety of elasticities. Best of all, MeTro is highly efficient, able to set in as little as 6- seconds with the help of a UV light, the researchers say.
The team tested the sealant in rats by applying it to incisions in arteries and punctures in lungs. It was also used to successfully seal wounds in pig lungs, even after repeated inflations and deflations. The next step is for the product to be tested on human wounds.
Anthony Weiss of the University of Sydney and co-author on the study, said, “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.”
The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.