Researchers from the United States and Australia have developed a new form of surgical glue that can seal both internal and external wounds in a matter of seconds.
The super glue like gel, which is squirted directly onto wounds, could potentially revolutionise treatment at road traffic accidents or in war zones.
The gel is made from a natural elasticated protein and works in a similar fashion to the sealant used on bathroom tiles.
“You can just squirt it onto a wound site, zap it with light and the whole thing sets in a matter of seconds,” said Prof. Anthony Weiss from the University of Sydney.
Prof Weiss said the gel could be used to treat wounds that other medical adhesives can’t.
It could also be used on wounds that are otherwise very difficult to treat such as on the lungs, arteries or heart, where the tissue constantly expands and relaxes.
“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,” he said.
The gel, called MeTro is squirted directly onto the wound and can heal it in less than 60 seconds after it is treated with a UV light.
In its research paper published this week in Science Translational Medicine, the lead author of the study, Nasim Annabi, an assistant chemical engineering professor at Northeastern University in Boston, said the gel has been used to successfully seal incision on the lungs and arteries of pigs and rodents.
“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,” Prof Annabi said in a statement.
The next stage is for the gel to be used in clinical trials on humans.
“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,” Prof Weiss said.