Fabrication of high strength and biocompatible/bioabsorbable surgical skin adhesives for wound closure

Principal investigator: Shu Yang

University: University of Pennsylvania

Industry partners: Adhezion Biomedical

Surgical skin adhesives could significantly improve outcomes of surgical procedures, reduce surgical time and minimize complications such as inflammation and postoperative infections. An ideal surgical adhesive should have high tensile and tear strength, be fast curing, non-toxic and anti-inflammatory, and cost-effective. Current surgical skin adhesives on the market are mainly cyanoacrylate based. They cure fast, have good adhesion strength, are water repellent and anti-microbial. However, they have low bioabsorption rates, low biocompatibility, low adherence to wet surfaces, and could cause chronic inflammation. Hydrogel-based and bioderived tissue adhesives are biocompatible and bioabsorbable. However, they are either expensive and of limited availability, or have relatively weak tensile and adhesion strengths. Thus, it is imperative to develop a new type of biocompatible and bioabsorbable surgical adhesive system that can maintain or surpass the advantages of the cyanoacrylate based ones.

Building upon our prior understanding of the adaptive adhesion mechanism, we propose to develop an optimal hydrogel-based surgical skin adhesive that is tough, stretchable, shape conformable, and highly adhesive, while being biocompatible and bioabsorbable. Working together with our industrial partner, we will fine-tune the choice of matrix materials, the fillers as rheological thickening agents and mechanical strength enhancers, and curing accelerator. We expect the proposed surgical adhesives will offer superior wound dressing properties, including high adhesion strength, fast curing, and improved biocompatibility, with potential antimicrobial capability.

It will enable us to foster and engage an interdisciplinary yet synergistic approach that will create a significant new opportunity to excite and train students and postdoctoral fellows about materials chemistry, soft mechanics, and bioengineering, and their interface with medical devices. We will use the research outcome as an effective tool to recruit and train highly motivated and innovative students as the next generation workforce for industrial innovations.