A compound found in sunless tanning spray may help heal post-surgical wounds, according to new research found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Plastic surgeons at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City and biomedical engineers at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. found that a sticky gel composed of polyethylene glycol and a polycarbonate of dihydroxyacetone (MPEG-pDHA) has the ability to make tissues stick together. DHA has sticky properties that allow sunless tanner to adhere to the skin without being wiped off.
Researchers discovered that the gel reduced seroma formation or fluid buildup in rats that had breast tissue removed. After patients undergo surgery to remove cancerous breast tissue, the hollow space often fills with fluid, or seromas, that needs to be drained. The gel may one day be used in reconstructive surgeries to fill those hollow spaces and prevent seroma formation.
DHA is naturally produced by the body during the metabolism of glucose. The sticky gel developed by researchers may offer an alternative to conventional surgical sealants, which are animal-based and slow to degrade, leaving the patient more prone to allergic reactions and infections. A number of companies are curently developing surgical adhesives based on human biological materials or synthetic materials:
Nerites Corporation uses polyethylene glycol as a base for its surgical adhesives, which rely on synthetic molecules instead of animal or human components. The formula and degradation rate can be tailored for different requirements. The company is focused on hernia repair.
Cohera Medical is developing a line of resorbable surgical adhesives that are free of human and animal derivatives. The company’s lead product, TissuGlu, is a sprayable adhesive formulated for use in plastic surgery procedures. TissuGlu was found to virtually eliminate seroma formation in preclinical testing.
Vivostat A/S is developing a personalized surgical glue that uses the patient’s own blood. According to Vivostat CEO Michael Ruge, the glue has demonstrated the ability to heal chronic diabetic ulcers, the leading disease-related cause of lower limb amputations in the U.S. In the video below, Ruge discusses Vivostat at the 2010 OneMedForum in San Francisco: