I will never fail to appreciate and marvel at the ever-evolving field of research, that keeps bringing forth one wondrous invention after another. A group of biomedical engineers from the University of Sydney and the United States teamed up for the sake of developing a surgical glue that could potentially transform the field of surgery once and for all.
The surgical glue, MeTro, methacryloyl-substituted tropoelastin, is a highly elastic, human-protein-based sealant that has the capability to seal wounds, hence eradicating the need to pierce (for suturing) an already damaged tissue. MeTro takes 60 seconds to set upon being illuminated with UltraViolet (UV) light.
Surgical glues available prior to MeTro have had low adhesion and comparatively much less mechanical strength. This surgical glue is so highly elastic that it is ideal for being used as a sealant on body tissues that continually undergo contraction and expansion, such as the heart, arteries, and lungs. Further, it has a “built-in degrading enzyme” that can be modified to adjust the functional lifetime of the glue. It can stay put, from hours to months, depending upon how much time a wound requires to heal.
All the members of the team have immensely positive statements about how the sealant works. I’ve listed a few of the points that they’ve mentioned:
- On coming in contact with the ruptured tissue, MeTro solidifies into a gel-like phase instantly, without being runny.
- MeTro acts like a liquid and conforms to the shape of the wound, filling and sealing the gaps.
- For the time period that a wound needs healing, MeTro stays stable. Once the healing process is complete, it degrades without leaving behind any toxic residue.
- The most powerful potential applications of MeTro would be in case of emergencies such as accidents, in times of war, and, of course, in the field of surgery.
The next obstacle for MeTro to pass is the clinical testing. Once that is done, it will be out on clinic shelves in no time, saving, undoubtedly, an umpteen number of lives.
|University of Sydney|
|Science Translational Medicine|