Empa Researchers Developed Nanoparticles That Stick Wounds, Eliminates Stitching

Empa Researchers Developed Nanoparticles That Stick Wounds, Eliminates Stitching

Stopping the bleeding, closing wounds, repairing organs—these are everyday challenges in medical and surgical practice.

After an operation, a patient will have wounds that been closed with stitches, also known as sutures. These may be buried and absorbable, in which case they will not require removal. Wounds take a variable amount of time to heal depending on the condition of a patient. 

The scientists’ on-going quest to develop better ways of sealing wounds within the body, hopes to invent the futurist medical technique that will save lives of people.

Doctors of the future may be able to trade their needle and thread for high-tech medical operation, thanks to the new invention of researchers at Empa - a nanoparticles-based tissue glue to effectively control bleeding and repair tissues.

Pig intestines were used for testing the new nanoparticle-based tissue glue (Image credit: Empa)

In their study under Inge Herrmann's leadership, the Empa researchers aimed to fulfill the doctors' wish. 

Martin Matter, a doctoral candidate in Herrmann's team and lead author of the study, used pig intestines to test the new glue. 

Although medical science has made considerable progress in recent decades, complications still arise, especially after operations. In some cases, these are fatal. 

Particularly with internal wounds, there is a risk of hemorrhage, which is difficult to treat because it is not easy to stitch or apply a plaster to internal wounds.

The idea of tissue glue is not new: conventional glues consist primarily of fibrin, a protein produced by the body which plays a key role in clotting the blood. 

Fibrin is not only very expensive but can also trigger immune responses, which frequently result in serious complications.


The nanoparticles have an adhesive property, known as "nano-bridging". In the study in question, researchers used silica (silicon dioxide) and iron oxide nanoparticles to stick pieces of tissue together, the study recently described in the specialist literature.

The researchers used this innovative principle to develop a tissue glue to be used in the future for various operations and complaints. They created nanoparticles from various material combinations, with a view to making the glue bioactive.

A combination of glue and bioglass makes the blood clot more quickly at the location of the wound. Depending on the combination of the elements silicon, calcium, sodium and phosphorus, bioglass has various different properties. 

If the ideal combination is achieved, this will open up completely new treatment possibilities. Depending on the formula, for example, bioglass may form effective bonds with bones or soft tissue. The researchers also ensured that none of the materials used is harmful to health.

Their research could revolutionize the medical surgeries in future and will open up a new era of simple and faster bonding of tissues. (Source: Empa)

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