In an initial report on the fabrication of free-standing nanosheets for biomedical applications, scientists at Tokyo’s Waseda University in Japan have developed a biodegradable thin film of only about 20 nanometers thickness that could replace surgical stitches.
Applying nanosheets with poly-L-lactide (PLLA) to the incisions of mouse stomachs, the team found that these centimeter-long biodegradable nanosheets healed the incisions without scarring or tissue adhesion.
With collaboration from the National Defense Medical College, the Japanese researchers published its findings in the journal Advanced Materials. "This approach would constitute an ideal candidate for an alternative to conventional suture/ligation procedures, from the perspective not only of a minimally invasive surgical technique but also reduction of operation times," says Shinji Takeoka, a professor in the Department of Life Science and Medical Bioscience at Waseda University.
The research team’s nanosheet could be applied as a wound dressing instead of conventional suturing operation, but also in the fields of plastic surgery, endoscopic surgery, regeneration medicine, and external use (for the skin).
Researchers have already been working on a glue-type and sheet-type biomaterials for wound dressing. The nanosheet developed by the Japanese team has features such as high adhesiveness, high flexibility, and high transparency at the same time. PLLA and other polyesters have been clinically applied in drug delivery and as degradable stitches before, but not as nano-thin sheets. Interestingly, the mechanical properties of the nanosheets are very different from the conventional thin film of the same components.
It will be several years before this material is developed enough to enter clinical trials, Takeoka says.