A team of researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have developed a new sealant to close holes developed in lungs and blood vessels as a result of pulmonary emphysema using Alaska Pollock gelatin. The sealant is reportedly 12 times stronger than conventional sealants and is able to resist pressure as high as nearly 2.8 times the normal blood pressure. Fibrin sealants currently are often used as supplementary materials to seal holes developed in organs and blood vessels. To resolve this particular problem, the researchers developed a sealant using pig-derived gelatin.

However, because this type of sealant needs to be liquefied by heating before use in surgery, Tetsushi Taguchi, leader of the research group, shifted his attention to Alaska Pollock gelatin as it maintains liquidity even when exposed to low temperatures or condensed. Taguchi says, “This gelatin always takes a liquid form at room temperature. We have developed a new sealant by chemically modifying this gelatin with a hydrophobic cholesteryl group, which was considered to be an excellent tissue sealant, and mixing it with a polyethylene glycol-based crosslinking agent, which had already been in clinical use.”

Taguchi explains, “Because it possesses extremely high bonding strength and elasticity, and it slowly breaks down in the body after surgery, it has the potential to be used as a sealant for any organ.”

The researchers made 3-mm-diameter holes in fresh porcine blood vessels under wet conditions and applied the sealant to the holes in order to verify the bonding strength of the new sealant. The test showed that the pressure resistance strength of the sealant was 341 mmHg, which indicates the sealant is highly pressure resistant as it is about 12 times stronger than currently available fibrin sealants, according to a Science Daily news report.

The Science Daily news report notes that Taguchi is presently collecting basic data with the goal of conducting clinical studies in 5 years in coordination with the Department of Thoracic Surgery, University of Tsukuba. “We wish to make contribution to medical advancement by developing outstanding materials for medical workers. To achieve that, we need to know the real needs and concerns of medical workers,” says Taguchi.

Taguchi adds, “Without taking this information into account, our efforts to integrate advanced science and technology into the development of new materials would be wasted. To ensure our effort to be productive and to develop truly useful materials, it is vital for us to listen to the opinions of medical workers in person.”

Source: Science Daily