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Laser-activated silk sealants outperform sutures for tissue repair

Date: 7.11.2018 

NIBIB funded researchers have developed laser-activated nanomaterials that integrate with wounded tissues to form seals that are superior to sutures for containing body fluids and preventing bacterial infection. Kredit: Urie et al. 2018.

Tissue repair following injury or during surgery is conventionally performed with sutures and staples, which can cause tissue damage and complications, including infection. Glues and adhesives have been developed to address some of these issues but can introduce new problems that include toxicity, poor adhesion, and inhibition of the body's natural healing processes, such as cell migration into the wound space.

Now, researchers funded by NIBIB at Arizona State University are developing a novel sealant technology that sounds a bit like science fiction – laser-activated nanosealants (LANS).

However, biocompatibility does not imply simplicity. The Arizona group has developed this technology by carefully choosing and testing the materials contained in the sealant as well as the specific type of laser light needed to activate the sealant without causing heat-induced collateral tissue damage.

The sealant is made of biocompatible silk that is embedded with tiny gold particles called nanorods. The laser heats the gold nanorods to activate the silk sealant. Once activated, the silk nanosealant has special properties that cause it to gently move into or "interdigitate" with the tissue proteins to form a sturdy seal. Gold was used because it quickly cools after laser heating, minimizing any peripheral tissue damage from prolonged heat exposure.





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