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Porous Gel Sponge Facilitates Rapid Hemostasis and Wound Healing

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 May 2024
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Image: The renal ECM-based sponge material facilitates rapid hemostasis and wound healing (Photo courtesy of Professor Dong-Woo Cho, POSTECH)
Image: The renal ECM-based sponge material facilitates rapid hemostasis and wound healing (Photo courtesy of Professor Dong-Woo Cho, POSTECH)

The kidneys are essential organs that handle critical bodily functions, including waste elimination and blood pressure regulation. Often referred to as the silent organ because they typically do not manifest symptoms until there is significant damage, early detection of kidney tumors is vital as it enables removal through partial nephrectomy. However, this surgery carries risks such as severe bleeding, infections, and tissue damage, leading to potential chronic conditions like reduced kidney function and hypertension, complicating both the treatment and recovery phases. In response to these challenges, researchers have created a new material designed to quickly stop kidney bleeding and aid in wound healing.

Using kidney-derived decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM), a team of researchers from Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH, Gyeongbuk. Korea) has developed a hemostatic solution specifically tailored for kidney applications. The dECM material contains proteins and factors that replicate the natural environment of the kidney, ensuring compatibility with human tissue. This material has already seen applications in tissue engineering, including artificial organ creation and tissue restoration. The team first analyzed the composition of the kidney-derived dECM to confirm the presence of hemostatic elements within its structure. They then combined this dECM with a chemical cross-linker to create a porous sponge-like material known as "cryogel."

This cryogel is designed to be highly porous with an expansive surface area, allowing it to effectively absorb blood, which is particularly useful in surgical settings. In animal trials, the cryogel demonstrated a notable reduction in tissue damage and necrosis by up to threefold four weeks after partial nephrectomy, outperforming both the control group and conventional gelatin sponges. Furthermore, the researchers found that the level of cross-linker used significantly impacts the cryogel's biodegradation rate and compatibility with blood, highlighting its potential for enhancing post-surgical recovery in kidney treatments.

"This study underscores once more the clinical significance of dECM-based medical sponge materials," said Professor Dong-Woo Cho from POSTECH.

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