Suturing and stapling have been the go-to method of closure techniques for cardiovascular defects and injuries. However, sutures are difficult and slow to apply and both can cause damage and be troublesome in creating a blood-tight seal. Glue is an ideal way of closing a bloody hole, but medical adhesive technology has had difficulties sticking in wet and bloody conditions, and some can even be toxic to the body.
A team of researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, led by Pedro del Nido and Jeff Karp may have solved these issues. They have engineered a surgical glue that is controllably adhesive even on bloody tissues, and is flexible, biodegradeable and non-toxic. Dubbed HLAA, or hydrophobic light-activated adhesive, the polymer (poly(glycerol sebacate acrylate)) is initially a viscous gel when applied to a wound. Application of ultraviolet light for a few seconds cures the polymer in place, turning it into an elastic hemostatic rubber seal, even in high pressure environments, such as large blood vessels or cardiac wall defects in pigs. The team showed that an intimate entangled connection is formed between HLAA and the collagen of the cardiovascular surfaces to hold the seal in place. They demonstrated applications in closing ventricular wall defects, interventricular septal defects, and vascular defects.
The results of the study have been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, and the glue is currently being developed for market by European start-up Gecko Biomedical(Paris, France), which has recently raised $11 million in series-A funding and plans to begin clinically using the product in patients in one or two years.
Here’s a video from Science Translational Medicine of study lead author Jeffrey Karp explaining the application of the new glue: