A light activated bio-glue could repair a broken heart after surgery or trauma by reducing uncontrolled bleeding, which is currently a major cause of death.
Sealing heart and artery wounds is difficult because the adhesive must be strong enough to resist high blood pressure and the movement of a beating heart. Very few non-toxic materials meet these criteria.
But now a team of researchers at the China’s Zhejiang University have developed the new glue.
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“No current existing clinical products can stop operative heart bleeding so quick and efficiently,” lead researcher Hongwei Ouyang told the New Scientistmagazine.
The light-activated glue repaired cuts in pig hearts and stopped them bleeding in less than 30 seconds, experiments showed. The researchers believe it could now be used on humans.
The glue is largely made from water and gelatin. After being activated with ultraviolet light it quickly seals and forms a rubbery, waterproof seal.
During experiments, scientists punctured holes in four pig hearts using a needle and then applied the glue to the wounds. After the wounds healed, the glue, which mimics soft human tissues, is naturally absorbed by the body so there is no need for stitches.
It is the first time medical glue has proved strong enough to withstand such high pressure.
Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists said it could be used in pressures ”significantly higher” than in most clinical settings.
However, they added that additional studies are needed to confirm its safety before being used on humans.
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