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Game-Changing ‘Bio-Glue’ Could End Use of Surgical Sutures and Staple

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 24 May 2022
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Image: Bio-glue enables near-instantaneous gelling, sealing and healing of injured tissue (Photo courtesy of Pexels)
Image: Bio-glue enables near-instantaneous gelling, sealing and healing of injured tissue (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Tissue adhesive washout and detachment are major issues for medical practitioners and may prove fatal for patients, especially when the separation happens in vital organs like the lungs, liver and the heart. These organs – even when healthy – undergo frequent movement (contractions and relaxations) due to physiological needs, which cause additional strain on tissue adhesives. Now, a new ‘bio-glue’ has the capability to replace and revolutionize tissue adhesives (like fibrin glue) currently utilized in clinical settings, triage situations and mass casualty incidents. The discovery of the new bio-glue designed using materials already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other applications may mean an end to surgical sutures and staples made of plastic or stainless steel.

A team of researchers at Western University (Ontario, Canada) and University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada) has developed the first-ever hydrophobic (water-hating) fluid, which displaces body fluids surrounding an injury allowing for near-instantaneous gelling, sealing and healing of injured tissue. Since the new bio-glue forms a strong bond with the adjacent tissue, it virtually eliminates detachment. In extensive preclinical studies, it was able to seal a punctured lung, heart, artery and even a fractured skull. For the new bio-glue, the primary material is silicone, which does not absorb the water from the tissue, so it sticks.

“Tissue adhesives that can perform in the presence of blood, water and other proteins in the body are the holy grail for instant wound closure and hemostasis, especially when time is critical in rescue operations and emergency responses,” said Kibret Mequanint, a Western chemical and biochemical engineering professor. “Fibrin glue, and the like, often fail to displace fluids around an injury. This failure means (current tissue adhesives) never strongly adhere to the wound and often detach within the first hour or two.”

“This new bio-glue is transformative in its deceptive simplicity,” added Mequanint. “There was no tissue reaction to it and the healing was fast. Silicone forms a strong adhesion, so you don’t have to worry after the repair that it’s going to reopen and cause more problems beyond the initial injury.”

Related Links:
Western University 
University of Manitoba 

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