A newly engineered material could become the first suture-less sealant for wound closure. In laboratory tests of the material, known as a MeTro sealant, the team demonstrated complete sealing of severely leaking lung tissue, as well as evidence that the material could help promote wound healing.

Schematic depicting the MeTro sealant.
(Credit: Brigham and Women’s Hospital)

MeTro (methacryloyl-substituted tropoelastin) is a protein derived from the elastic fibers that make up human tissue. Because the substance is laboratory-modified tissue rather than synthetic, it is much more biocompatible than other sealants. After a short exposure to light, it can form a highly elastic and adhesive layer on the wound.

The researchers tested the MeTro sealant in preclinical models, including rat and porcine models, finding that the sealant had no toxicity and controlled in vivo degradation. The team also found that the sealant provided higher tensile strength, elongation, and better adhesive strength and burst pressure resistance than several commercially available sealants. In previous work, the team found that the MeTro gel was an excellent candidate for regenerating tissue, meaning that it could potentially help to heal as well as seal incisions.