Il tessuto ispirato alla natura che può guarire le ferite in pochi secondi

Gli scienziati del MIT hanno creato un nuovo tessuto adesivo: ispirato alla natura, è capace di curare le ferite in 30 secondi

Gli ingegneri del Massachusetts Institute of Technology di Cambridge potrebbero aver trovato un modo geniale per trattare le ferite causate da eventi traumatici.
La scoperta, appena resa nota, viene dallo studio dei cirripedi, piccolissimi crostacei che aderiscono alle rocce grazie ad uno speciale adesivo naturale, che gli scienziati sono riusciti a riprodurre con successo.

La soluzione ispirata dalla natura

Trovare dei modi più efficienti per contrastare il sanguinamento delle ferite è una sfida aperta da anni, in ambito medico. According to Xuanhe Zhao, one of the authors of the study, it is a problem that has not yet been adequately addressed.

Applying the stitches usually used to seal wounds is in fact quite a time-consuming operation that is impossible for first responders to perform in an emergency situation.

In recent years, materials called "hemostatic agents" have been studied that can stop bleeding, but even these require several minutes - once applied - to actually stop bleeding.

Zhao's lab has been working on the issue for years: in 2019, he invented a double-sided fabric capable of closing wounds, inspired by the sticky material produced by spiders to capture prey.

For the new glue-tissue, of the type that surgeons also call "adhesive tissue" or "liquid stitches," the inspiration again comes from the world of nature.

In particular, drawing the attention of MIT scientists this time were barnacles, tiny mollusks that are wont to anchor themselves to rocks, ship keels and even whales.

The ability to stick to such surfaces, wet and often dirty, is just what is needed to solve once and for all the issue of instant sutures.

The problem, with the adhesive fabrics tested so far, is precisely in the difficulty of adhering well to such surfaces. As Hyunwoo Yuk, co-author of the research, puts it, "to close an open wound, you have to fight not only against wetness but also against contamination from the blood that is lost."

The barnacles, according to the study authors, "do exactly the same thing we do when we treat a bleeding tissue."

The tissue that heals wounds

An analysis of the substance produced by barnacles to stick to their hosts revealed a unique composition. The "sticky" protein molecules that allow the tiny mollusks to remain anchored to rocks are suspended in an oil capable of repelling any contaminants found on the surface.

The research team thus decided to attempt to mimic the substance secreted by barnacles by adapting a special organic adhesive compound they had previously devised: the compound was frozen, crushed into microparticles and then suspended in a medical-grade silicone oil.

Applied to a surface similar to bleeding tissue, the oil contained in the adhesive fabric effectively repels blood and impurities on the surface, allowing the adhesive microparticles to perform at their best.

Laboratory tests have shown that between 15 and 30 seconds are sufficient for the new compound to effectively seal a wound. Another special feature of the new compound is its composition: as it is a kind of paste, the new adhesive fabric can be applied without problems even on particularly uneven or rough surfaces.

Tests show that the suture remains intact for several weeks, giving the tissues plenty of time to regenerate and heal. The special glue-tissue reabsorbs on its own within a few months, but it can also be removed earlier thanks to the action of a specific thinner.