'Revolutionary' super glue could treat wounds in car crashes, war zones

| 05.10,17. 01:05 PM |

'Revolutionary' super glue could treat wounds in car crashes, war zones

Australian researchers have developed a new superglue-like substance that can be squirted onto wounds — even internal ones — to seal them within seconds, potentially revolutionising treatment in war zones and at the site of car crashes.

The gel works like the regular bathroom sealant commonly used for tiling, but is made from a natural elastic protein.

"You can just squirt it onto a wound site, zap it with light and the whole thing sets in a matter of seconds," University of Sydney biochemistry professor Anthony Weiss said.

The university has partnered with Harvard and Northeastern universities in the US to develop the gel prototype and is now hoping to progress to human trials.

Professor Weiss said the applications were potentially huge.

"This particular treatment is revolutionary," he told News Breakfast.

"Whether it's a war zone, whether it's an accident or whether, indeed, it's just a need for more substantial, more rapid surgery, just squirt it on.

"It's a little tiny container, squirt it onto the site of the treatment, if it's a busted lung, if it's a busted blood vessel."

The researchers say the gel can replace traditional staples or sutures and can more easily treat internal wounds that are often hard to reach.

They say its natural elastic properties also make it ideal for wounds in tissue that continually expands and relaxes, like hearts, lungs and arteries.

"[It] seems to remain stable over the period that wounds need to heal in demanding mechanical conditions," professor Ali Khademhosseini from Harvard Medical School said.

"Later it degrades without any signs of toxicity. It checks off all the boxes of a highly versatile and efficient surgical sealant."

The research has just been published in Science Translational Medicine and the team is now seeking funding to move to human trials.

"It's a real Aussie success story … we could start tomorrow if the funding is available," Professor Weiss said.


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