New Battlefield Wound Treatment Developed

BOSTON, May 5 (UPI) — A U.S.-funded research project is using light-activated technology to treat battlefield injuries in place of conventional sutures, staples and glues.

The Defense Department-funded and U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research-managed study involves a technology called Photochemical Tissue Bonding, which can repair skin wounds and reconnect severed peripheral nerves, blood vessels and tendons, as well as incisions in the eye.

Harvard Medical School Professor Irene Kochevar and Associate Professor Robert Redmond of the Massachusetts General Hospital Wellman Center are leading the study.

“We have demonstrated that this technology is very helpful in medicine for the Air Force because it produces better healing and functional outcomes than the same wounds that were treated with conventional materials,” Kochevar said.

The scientists said the bonding or nanosuture process is accomplished by applying a dye to a wound or damaged tissue and then exposing it briefly to green light. The dye absorbs the light and that helps it to molecularly bond proteins on the tissue surface.

“An immediate, water-tight seal is formed between the tissue surfaces leading to reduced inflammation in the near term and better scar formation in the long term,” Kochevar said.

The researchers say they are now seeking a shorter treatment time that yields an even stronger bond.

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