Dr. Putnam's lab and his collaborators work to create safe, synthetic compounds from chemicals found in nature. DHA is an intermediary compound produced during the metabolism of glucose, a sugar used by the body for fuel.
To create the new compound, MPEG-pDHA, Dr. Putnam and his lab first bound the single molecule monomer of DHA, which is highly reactive, to a protecting group molecule, making it stable enough to manipulate. This allowed the engineers to bind the monomers together to form a polymer, or chain of molecules, along with MPEG. Doing so allows the polymer gel to be injected through a syringe.
"Making a polymer from DHA has eluded chemical engineers for about 20 years," says Dr. Putnam.
Now in gel form, the compound has the ability to stick tissues together, preventing the pocket from filling with seroma fluid, like an internal Band-Aid, explains Dr. Putnam. The researchers found that the gel prevented or significantly lowered seroma formation or fluid buildup in rats that had breast tissue removed.
"The next step would be to test the gel on larger animals and then in clinical trials in human surgical cases," says Dr. Spector.
Previous results, published by Drs. Putnam and Spector, in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, showed that the gel also prevented bleeding in a rat liver.
"This is another aspect of the compound that would be greatly beneficial if proven to be applicable in humans," says Dr. Spector. "The gel could speed the healing and decrease bleeding within the body."
|Contact: Andrew Klein|
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College