Laser-cured solder for micro-surgical tissue repair

A collaboration between staff and students of Macquarie University and Professor Earl Owen of the Microsearch Foundation developed solid protein “solders” for joining severed tissues in microsurgery.

Laser light is delivered by optical fibre to cure the protein solder and cause it to adhere to the two tissues to be joined.

The protein solder is made of dye mixed with albumin, a naturally occurring protein, which can be formed into bands, or strips, for nerve repair, and into cylinders for repairing blood vessels.

Two international patents were granted for this material and the technique of micro-surgical repair, and were transferred to a local biotech company for clinical development.

The project did not lead to the expected clinical application of solid protein solder for general microsurgery, but it has formed the basis of emergency treatment of damaged organs and closure of skin wounds. Our contribution was to demonstrate how effective, quick and convenient the solid form of the solder could be. Thus subsequent work on laser-assisted surgical tissue repair around the world has focused on solid protein solders.

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