A wound to the skin can swiftly be patched up with stitches, but repairing damage to our internal organs is much more complicated. Holding tissues together with sutures is a delicate procedure, especially for organs whose functions require them to be flexible. Surgical glues are a promising alternative, and one recently-developed sealant, dubbed MeTro gel, could change the way we deal with internal wounds. Based on an elastic protein found in the human body, known as tropoelastin, MeTro gel is non-toxic, and was especially designed for organs that need to expand and contract, such as the heart, lungs and blood vessels. In the tissue section pictured, MeTro gel (in orange) tightly binds to the surface of an injured lung (below). Tests with live animals demonstrated that this glue can effectively and safely seal punctures in the arteries and lungs of rats and pigs, raising hopes for successful applications in humans.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.