Giovanni Traverso has designed tough, absorbable, hydrogel-coated sutures, which in addition to holding post-surgery or wound-affected tissue in place, can sense inflammation and deliver drugs, including monoclonal antibodies. They could also be used to deliver stem cells.
The sutures were created from pig tissue, “decellularized” with detergents, to reduce the chances of inducing inflammation in host tissue. This process leaves behind a cell-free “De-gut” material, which contains structural proteins such as collagen, and other biomolecules found in the extracellular matrix that surrounds cells. Their strength is comparable to commercially available catgut sutures, and the De-gut sutures induce much less of an immune response from surrounding tissue.