22 April 2014

Nanoclay instead of catgut

The development of French researchers working under the leadership of Ludwik Leibler from the INSERM National Institute of Medical Research could revolutionize surgery and regenerative medicine. They demonstrated the possibility of using aqueous solutions of nanoparticles to instantly "glue" the edges of deep tissue damage and soft-tissue organs.

Last December, the authors published for the first time in the journal Nature an innovative concept of gluing gels and biological tissues using nanoparticles. The underlying principle is very simple: nanoparticles contained in a solution distributed over the surfaces to be glued bind to the molecular framework of the gel (or tissue). This phenomenon is known as adsorption. At the same time, the gel (or fabric) binds these particles together. As a result, a huge number of connections are formed between the two glued layers. The entire adhesion process, which is not a chemical reaction, is completed within a few seconds. Recent experiments on rats have demonstrated that the described method can completely change the clinical approach to wound healing.

In the first experiment, the researchers compared two methods of healing deep wounds: traditional suturing and applying an aqueous solution of nanoparticles with a brush. The second method turned out to be much easier to use and ensured the rapid closure of the skin defect, which persisted until its complete healing and was not accompanied by the development of inflammation or necrosis. The resulting seam is almost invisible.

Illustration of the first experiment on rats. From left to right: skin damage, applying a solution, squeezing the edges of the wound to close it, and after half a minute the deep wound heals.

In the second experiment, the authors used an aqueous solution of nanoparticles to close damage to soft-tissue organs, such as the liver, lungs and spleen. Suturing such organs is a very difficult manipulation, since the tissues that make up them tear when pierced with a needle.

The application of an aqueous solution of nanoparticles to the edges of a deep, heavily bleeding incision of the liver and their subsequent pressing against each other ensured that the bleeding stopped and the wound closed. To restore the dissected lobe of the liver, scientists wrapped a film coated with nanoparticles around the incision, which also stopped bleeding. In both situations, the damaged organ retained its functionality and the animals recovered after the intervention.

The authors believe that the demonstrated manipulations are only isolated examples of the enormous possibilities opened up by nanoparticles. In parallel experiments, the researchers used them to firmly attach biodegradable membranes used for cell therapy to the heart. Even strong mechanical contractions of the heart muscle did not prevent this. This indicates the possibility of using nanoparticles to attach various medical devices to organs and tissues that promote recovery and regeneration, or perform the function of mechanical strengthening.

In general, the new adhesion method has exceptional potential in clinical practice. It is easy to use, and the nanoparticles included in the solution, consisting of silicon oxide and iron oxides, are easily excreted from the body.

Article by Anne Meddahi-Pelle et al. Organ Repair, Hemostasis, and In Vivo Bonding of Medical Devices by Aquatic Solutions of Nanoparticles is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on INSERM: Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair.


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