Scientists from Australia and the United States have created a unique biological “super-glue” capable of gluing the edges of wounds and “sewing” together the softest and softest tissues, such as the lungs or arteries, according to an article published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
“The application potential of this glue is huge, from” sealing “wounds to the battlefield or after various accidents, and ending with various complicated surgical operations in clinics .We have shown that our development can work in a variety of conditions and can solve those problems that can not be eliminated with the help of other adhesives.We are ready to start experiments on humans and hope that MeTro will soon begin to save lives, “said Anthony Weiss of the University of Sydney, Australia.
One of the main problems for surgeons in the operating room and for the military on the battlefield is that all existing methods of stopping bleeding and eliminating wounds have big drawbacks. For example, “stitching” a wound with surgical threads requires a lot of time, and the usual super-glue, the most convenient and reliable means for gluing the wounds, is a very toxic and fragile substance.
In recent years, scientists have placed high hopes on synthetic analogues of glue shells, through which they are attached to the rocks. This substance works well under water, but its strength was too small to glue the torn cartilage, ligaments, muscles and other organs.
On average, “clay glue” and other glue compounds, safe for the body, keep the glued surfaces about 80-100 times worse than the cartilage and ligaments attach to the bones. This makes them completely useless for conducting operations, as they will be constantly opened or broken during the treatment of large wounds.
The secret of creating such a glue, as Weiss says, was hidden in the body of the man himself. Our connective tissue consists of fibers of the elastin protein, a very strong and at the same time flexible substance capable of stretching several times and at the same time retaining its shape. The properties of elastin, as scientists noted recently, can vary greatly depending on how its molecules are intertwined.
This is due to the fact that elastin consists of small “building blocks” – relatively short protein molecules of protoelastin, readily soluble in water. Studying their properties, Weiss and his colleagues recently found out how it is possible to get microbes to produce these molecules in large quantities. This made them wonder whether it is possible to use protoelastin to create a “super-glue” that would not be toxic to the body and not inferior in strength to the tissues of the human body.
The problem was that scientists did not know how protoelastin molecules connect and form long chains during the synthesis of elastin in cells of connective tissue and in human skin. They did not guess and try to find an answer in the cages of humans or animals, but invented their own way of polymerizing protoelastin, mixing it with methyl methacrylate, the raw material for the production of organic glass.
This substance, as scientists say, is a thick colorless liquid in case it is stored in a dark room, and when it is illuminated with an ultraviolet lamp or the Sun it hardens quickly, turning into an elastic and translucent plastic. By adding a small amount of “liquid Plexiglass” to protoelastine, scientists received a kind of “super-glue”, not toxic to the body and at the same time possessing high flexibility and strength.
“The main advantage of our MeTro glue is that it instantly turns into a gel at the moment when it touches the surface of the skin, so that it does not” escape “in the treatment of wounds. In the future, its strength can be increased by highlighting the wound with ultraviolet, thanks to which our glue can very pinpoint and at the same time reliably bond the wounds, “adds Nasim Annabi, a chemist at Northeastern University in Boston, USA.
The work of this glue, as Annabi and Weiss tell, their team checked during experiments on mice and pigs, sealing them with damaged arteries and lungs. In either case, the wound was fully prolonged before the glue completely dissolved, and all the operated animals survived. As biologists hope, they will soon receive permission to conduct similar experiments on volunteers, which will open the way for the use of MeTro in clinical practice.