Several years ago, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
faculty members Eric Beckman, PhD (pictured), George M. Bevier Professor of Engineering in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and Michael Buckley, MD, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, invented a novel medical adhesive technology. The new adhesive—now known as TissuGlu®—was designed to meet a market demand for a strong, safe tissue adhesive to improve the wound closure process. The product positions tissues for optimal healing while minimizing fluid accumulation. To move the University of Pittsburgh-developed technology towards clinical use, Cohera Medical, Inc. was formed, and the invention rights were licensed by the University to Cohera.
Cohera Medical, Inc. recently announced that it has received approval to begin human clinical trials of TissuGlu® in Germany. Receipt of the approval allows Cohera Medical to proceed with patient recruitment and initiation of an investigational study of the company's novel internal surgical adhesive being developed for its first intended use to adhere surgical tissues together in large flap surgeries.
The feasibility study will investigate the safety and preliminary effectiveness of TissuGlu® and its effect on wound drainage and associated complications in abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgeries. The study will be conducted at three sites near Bonn, Frankfurt, and Freiburg in Germany and will enroll 40 patients. Patient recruitment is expected to begin the end of 2009.
Currently, patients who undergo abdominoplasty require the insertion of drains to remove fluids that accumulate under the skin at the surgical site. In some cases, drainage is inadequate and excessive fluid accumulation (called seroma formation) often requires an additional procedure to remove it. TissuGlu® is designed to adhere the tissue flaps created during the procedure, thereby reducing fluid accumulation and ultimately reduce or eliminate the need for surgical drains and reduce the risk of related complications. Patients are expected to experience a faster and more comfortable recovery with the use of TissuGlu®.
Unlike "Superglue" products, TissuGlu® is biocompatible and resorbable, making it safe for internal use. Also, unlike "fibrin sealant" products, it is strong, easy to use, and contains no human or animal derivatives. Studies in the lab demonstrated that the bond created with TissuGlu® is as strong after 1 hour as a normal wound is after 1 week of healing. Because the adhesive is created from sugars and amino acids, the components into which it breaks down are designed to be benign and lead to virtually no immune system response.
The Cohera story is a great example of technology development; it shows how an invention can transform from an idea into reality. Cohera Medical is a Pittsburgh-based company that is developing a revolutionary line of surgical adhesives. Cohera Medical's products are based on a unique chemical design that is purely synthetic, easy to use, biocompatible, and fully resorbable.
Dr. Buckley is the former Director of the Department of Dental Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Montefiore Hospital, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs of the School of Dental Medicine, and Associate Professor and Director of Research Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dental Medicine, for the University of Pittsburgh.
Illustration: University of Pittsburgh.
Fox Business News (10/23/09)
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Cohera Medical, Inc.
University of Pittsburgh, Office of Technology Management, News
Bio: Dr. Eric Beckman