In a two-stage experiment, a team of scientists in France have shown the effectiveness of a biocompatible adhesive made of nanoparticles in healing wounds in place of traditional methods of surgical wound closure using staples and sutures.
Surgeons typically use sutures and staples in closing wounds on skin and internal organs. While effective, these techniques can be trumped by using adhesive solutions that would not damage soft tissues such as the liver, spleen or kidneys. But existing glues can cause a reaction when applied or may not be strong enough to hold wound edges together.
Researchers at the Laboratoire Matière Molle et Chimie (CNRS/ESPCI Paris Tech) and the Laboratoire Recherche Vasculaire Translationnelle (INSERM/Université Paris Diderot) in France may have found the solution, literally. They made a liquid solution containing silica and iron oxide nanoparticles that was effective enough to hold shut superficial and deep tissue wounds in lab rats.
In the first experiment, the team applied droplets of the aqueous solution to a laceration on the skin of rats. After just thirty seconds of pressure, the glue was able to close deep wounds permanently. A second experiment involved closing cuts in the same animals’ livers, lungs and spleen, organs known for being difficult to repair, and the solution was also able to repair the wounds and stop internal bleeding. Organ function was not affected and the animals survived the experiment.
“The principle is simple: nanoparticles contained in a solution spread out on surfaces to be glued bind to the [tissue’s] molecular network,” the researchers wrote in a press release. “At the same time the [tissue] binds the particles tighter. Accordingly, myriad connections form between the two surfaces. This adhesion process, which involves no chemical reaction, only takes a few seconds.”
Nanobridging creates millions of bonds between the tissues but does not interfere in the natural wound healing process. Since it does not create a chemical reaction and tissue inflammation, the glue may be safer to use than traditional materials. The solution is also quickly metabolized by the body. Moreover, using the solution can provide more aesthetically pleasing results since scarring is minimal.
The researchers also used the glue in attaching a medical device to a beating heart to see how it stands up to the added mechanical stress.
“Gluing a film to stop leakage is only one example of the possibilities opened up by adhesion brought on by nanoparticles,” according to the press release. “The researchers have succeeded in using nanoparticles to attach a biodegradable membrane used for cardiac cell therapy, and to achieve this despite the substantial mechanical constraints due to its beating.”
“They thus showed that it would be possible to attach various medical devices to organs and tissues for therapeutic, repair or mechanical strengthening purposes,” the press release concluded.
The findings published recently in the journal Angewandte Chemie demonstrated the potential of nanoparticles in wound healing and tissue repair. In addition, nanoparticles have also been shown to grow new bone tissue and fight cancer.
The researchers hope that their study of nanoparticles can contribute to similar work in organ regeneration that have taken the spotlight lately, which involved other scientists succesfully regenerating nose, thymus and genital tissue.