Chinese researchers have demonstrated in animal experiments that a light-activated adhesive gel can rapidly seal wounds to arteries and the heart, which could have potential applications in surgery in the future, according to a study published online on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
Uncontrolled bleeding following trauma or during surgery is a major cause of death and it is difficult to seal these wounds without sutures.
Gel-based solutions require both strong adhesion to the wet tissue and the strength to resist high blood pressures and the movement of a beating heart. However, very few non-toxic materials meet these criteria.
A team led by researchers from Zhejiang University and East China University Of Science And Technology designed a gel that mimics the composition of the extracellular matrix (a network of proteins and other molecules) and rapidly sets when exposed to ultraviolet light.
"This highly efficient gel material can be injected, and has the potential to be used for surgical hemostasis and wound fast sealing in use cases like open surgery and minimally invasive endoscopic surgery," Yi Hong, one of the authors from Zhejiang University, told Xinhua.
In preliminary animal experiments in the laboratory, the authors showed that their system was able to seal wounds to pig livers.
Following this, they performed a set of surgical procedures on pigs and were able to demonstrate that wounds to the heart could be sealed using the gel without the need for sutures.
Despite the progress, additional studies are needed to confirm the safety of the gel for its use in further trials, including those involving humans.