Skip the sutures. ‘Game-changing ‘superglue’ could heal serious knee injuries

Are you plagued by joint problems? A groundbreaking new superglue-style material could help revolutionize treatments such as knee surgery by strongly adhering to the injured body part, and then conveying repair cells or drugs in order to stimulate tissue regeneration. Developed by two groups of researchers at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the new hydrogel material — which is composed of almost 90 percent water — naturally adheres to soft tissue such as cartilage or the meniscus.

“In cases of cartilage injury, it is common for the surgeons to discover that a hole is present in the cartilage itself,” Dominique Pioletti, associate professor in EPFL’s Laboratory of Biomechanical Orthopedics, told Digital Trends. “If a piece of cartilage has been torn out — for example, following a severe injury of the leg — to repair it, you would need to place a substance, such as a scaffold, in the defect. The fixation of this material to the treated tissue is usually difficult and relies on a mechanical system such as stitches. This is a paradox because it means that you must further hurt the tissue you are supposed to be treating.”

That’s not the only problem. Suturing a soft tissue such as a meniscus can be difficult when the suture is placed on a load-bearing part of the tissue. Having a material that sticks by itself to the tissue is therefore an interesting and potentially game-changing alternative.

epfl hydrogel knee surgery img 0133 dxo
EPFL

The hydrogel developed by the researchers is a massive 10 times more adhesive than the other bioadhesives developed for this task. Its high water content also makes it similar in composition to the natural tissue that it is designed to heal. “This hydrogel presents the advantages of being mostly composed of water, which facilitates its injection through a small needle and will allow us to load it with cells or drugs,” Pioletti said. “Cells or drugs can therefore be maintained locally where the hydrogel is applied.”

At present, the researchers have developed the gel itself. The next part of the study will involve combining the developed hydrogel with the necessary repair cells and other drugs to help carry out repairs. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before clinical trials can be carried out.

A paper describing the research, titled “Composite Double-Network Hydrogels To Improve Adhesion on Biological Surfaces,” was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Product Review

‘Just Cause 4’ is mindless fun that leaves little room for much else

Just Cause 4 revels in explosions and over-the-top action, but its world feels empty and hollow. With few new ideas and a stale open world, it's a fun but shallow piece of escapism.
Movies & TV

Lose the torrents. Here's how to watch 'Game of Thrones' online (legally)

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Alita,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, as well as new trailers for Alita: Battle Angel and Bumblebee.
Gaming

Joker from ‘Persona 5’ will take your heart in ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’

Joker, the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts from Persona 5, will arrive to Super Smash Bros. as its first DLC character. The announcement was a surprising one, because Persona 5 is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.