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Scientists have developed a highly elastic and adhesive surgical glue that may be simply squirted on wounds to seal them within 60 seconds, eliminating the necessity for stitches.

The glue, called MeTro, is perfect for sealing wounds in body tissues that continually expand and relax – such as lungs, hearts, and arteries – that are normally vulnerable to re-opening.

The material, produced by researchers at the University of Sydney in Harvard and Australia University in the US, also works on internal wounds that tend to be in hard-to-reach areas and also have typically required staples or sutures credited to encircling body fluid hampering the potency of other sealants.

MeTro sets in only 60 secs once treated with UV light, and the technology has an integral degrading enzyme which may be modified to regulate how long the sealant lasts – from hours to months, in order to permit sufficient time for the wound to heal.

The liquid or gel-like materials have quickly and effectively sealed incisions in the arteries and lungs of rodents and the lungs of pigs, with no need for sutures and staples.

MeTro combines the natural elastic protein technologies with light-sensitive molecules.

“The beauty of the MeTro formulation is that, when it comes in contact with tissue surfaces, it solidifies into a gel-like stage without running away,” said Nasim Annabi, assistant professor at Northeastern University in America.

“We then further stabilize it by treating it on-site with a brief light-mediated crosslinking treatment,” said Annabi, lead author of the analysis released in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

“This enables the sealant to be very accurately positioned and also too tightly bond and interlock with structures on the tissue surface,” he said.

The procedure resembles that of silicone sealants used around bathroom and kitchen tiles.

“When you watch MeTro, it can be seen you act like a liquid, filling the spaces and conforming to the shape of the wound,” said Anthony Weiss from the University of Sydney.

“It responds well biologically and interfaces closely with human tissue to promote recovery. The gel is easily stored and can be squirted straight onto a wound or cavity,”

Weiss said.

“The applications are powerful – for dealing with serious internal wounds at crisis sites such as following car accidents and in battle areas, as well as enhancing medical center surgeries,” he said.

“MeTro appears to remain steady over the time that wounds need to heal in demanding mechanical conditions and later it degrades with no indicators of toxicity,”

said Ali Khademhosseini from Harvard Medical School.

“It checks off all the containers of an extremely versatile and effective surgical sealant with potential also beyond pulmonary and vascular suture and staple-less applications,” he said.

 

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