Traumatic battlefield injuries may be more effectively treated by using a new light-activated technology developed as a result of research managed by Air Force Office of Scientific Research and supported by funds from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

This new treatment for war injuries includes using a process or technology called Photochemical Tissue Bonding, which can replace conventional sutures, staples and glues in repairing skin wounds, reconnecting severed peripheral nerves, blood vessels, tendons and incisions in the cornea.

Harvard Medical School professor and Massachusetts General Hospital Wellman Center researcher, Dr. Irene Kochevar and her colleague at Wellman, Associate Professor Robert Redmond are both pleased with the initial lab bench experiments that led to a pilot clinical study. They feel these approaches produce better healing than if the same wounds that were treated with conventional materials.

The process of creating the bonding or nanosutures is accomplished by applying a dye to the wound or damaged tissue and then exposing it briefly to green light. The dye absorbs the light and that helps it to molecularly bond proteins on the tissue surface.

No glues, proteins or other materials are used to form a  tight seal is formed between the tissue surfaces, leading to reduced inflammation .

The researchers are planning to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the new technology and how it can be even more effective in theater. Currently, they are seeking a shorter treatment time that yields an even stronger bond.