Super glue can be squirted onto internal wounds to treat patients in war zones or those involved in car accidents

Treating serious wounds following car accidents or in war zones could be made a lot easier thanks to a potentially life-saving surgical glue that can seal wounds within seconds.

MeTro, which has been developed by biomedical engineers from the University of Sydney and Northeastern University, can be squirted onto patients’ wounds, and works on areas that continually expand and relax – such as lungs, hearts and arteries – as well as on internal wounds that are often in hard-to-reach areas.

The glue sets in 60 seconds once treated with UV light, and the technology has a built-in degrading enzyme, which can be modified so that the sealant lasts anywhere from hours to months.

“The beauty of the MeTro formulation is that, as soon as it comes in contact with tissue surfaces, it solidifies into a gel-like phase without running away,” said assistant professor Nasim Annabi of Northeastern University.

“The potential applications are powerful – from treating serious internal wounds at emergency sites such as following car accidents and in war zones, as well as improving hospital surgeries,” added Professor Anthony Weiss from the University of Sydney.

So far, MeTro has quickly and successfully sealed incisions in the arteries and lungs of rodents and the lungs of pigs, without the need for sutures and staples.

The next step for the sealant is to begin clinical trials.

“MeTro seems to remain stable over the period that wounds need to heal in demanding mechanical conditions and later it degrades without any signs of toxicity; it checks off all the boxes of a highly versatile and efficient surgical sealant with potential also beyond pulmonary and vascular suture and staple-less applications,” said professor Ali Khademhosseini, who is the director of the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center at Harvard Medical School.

“We have shown MeTro works in a range of different settings and solves problems other available sealants can’t. We’re now ready to transfer our research into testing on people. I hope MeTro will soon be used in the clinic, saving human lives,” added Weiss.

Images and video courtesy of the University of Sydney

The process by which MeTro works has been said to resemble the silicone sealants used around bathroom and kitchen tiles.

“When you watch MeTro, you can see it act like a liquid, filling the gaps and conforming to the shape of the wound,” said Weiss.

“It responds well biologically, and interfaces closely with human tissue to promote healing. The gel is easily stored and can be squirted directly onto a wound or cavity.”

New tech could diagnose diseases like Parkinson’s by interpreting how quickly and often you blink

Researchers have developed a device that has the potential to diagnose neurological and autoimmune diseases by monitoring and interpreting eyelid movements.

The device, designed by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, attaches to glasses, and was first used to diagnose the disease blepharospasm dystonia, which is characterised by involuntary contraction of the muscles responsible for closing the eyes.

In using the device to spot blepharospasm dystonia, the researchers found a statistically significant quantitative relationship between a person’s eyelid pattern and the disease.

The tech was then used to examine the effect of Botox injections, the conventional treatment for the disease, and it was found that within 15 minutes contractions decrease and patients’ blinking rates begin to match the patterns associated with healthy people.

Image courtesy of The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

“Eyelid motion provides us with meaningful information about the health of a patient,” said Adi Hanuka, a doctoral student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

“This motion can indicate not only eye diseases, but also neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, and autoimmune diseases such as Grave’s. We developed a device that can be installed on the standard refraction glasses used in eye tests.”

According to the researchers, the device has the potential to diagnose every disease that is expressed neurologically, including many ocular and systemic such as Ptosis, Thyroid eye disease, Parkinson’s disease, Myasthenia Gravis, and neurologic diseases such as third and seventh cranial nerve palsy.

Lead researcher Adi Hanuka. Image courtesy of The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

“Along with designing the product for purposes of commercialisation, we are working in several directions: developing the device as a platform for multidisciplinary research on various topics such as the effect of emotions on blinking patterns; eyelid communication amongst the paralyzed; and automatic diagnosis through machine learning and based on a computerized comparison between the specific monitoring and an extensive database,” said Hanuka.

In order to define the eyelid motion patterns, which includes blinking speed and frequency, of healthy people, measurements of approximately 100 subjects were collected.Eyelid motions were then analysed using a specifically tailored signal-processing algorithm.

Over the past two years, the device has been used in clinical trials at Haemek Medical Center in Afula, Israel.