More than 20 million Americans undergo colonoscopy screenings every year and doctors often end up removing small precancerous polyps that need additional care. Researchers at MIT have developed a gel, GastroShield, that can be sprayed onto the surgical sites through an endoscope, forming a tough but flexible protective layer that prevents delayed bleeding. In tests in animals, every animal treated with the new gel showed rapid sealing. After five days, it was sloughed off along with the top layer of tissue as wounds healed. Members of the research team have started a company called BioDevek that is further developing the gel, which could also be useful for treating stomach ulcers and inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, or for delivering cancer drugs.

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