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Zipping Up Wounds With Nanoparticles

Nanobridging by aqueous nanoparticle solutions could replace sutures for certain medical procedures

by Bethany Halford
April 28, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 17

Aqueous solutions of nanoparticles could one day replace sutures for healing cuts in skin and for certain surgical procedures, such as liver surgery, where stitches can be traumatic to soft tissues. Using aqueous solutions of silica or iron oxide nanoparticles, researchers in France led by Didier Letourneur of INSERM Paris and Ludwik Leibler of CNRS-ESPCI ParisTech found they were able to control bleeding and heal deep wounds in the skin and livers of rats (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201401043). The wound closure occurs through a process known as nanobridging, wherein the nanoparticles adsorb to the tissue and biomacromolecules attach to the nanoparticles, ensuring that the wound surfaces adhere to one another. In addition to wound healing, the researchers used the nanoparticle solutions to fix medical devices and tissue-engineering constructs to organs, such as a rat’s beating heart. They note that for skin and liver treatment, the procedure is fairly simple: Just dab the solution on the wound, push the wound edges into contact, and watch the wound seal in a matter of minutes. “Translation to clinical practice will require careful safety and toxicity investigations,” the team notes.


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