The Future of Surgery Is Far from Science Fiction


By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) — Minority Report, the 2002 movie starring Tom Cruise, had far-reaching consequences for those working on the cutting edge of technology. In one of the movie’s most famous scenes, Cruise manipulates data by tapping and dragging it across multiple interactive screens. That scene ensnared the American imagination—and excited many designers and engineers working in IT. Although the entire movie portrayed a future that has not yet taken shape, some of today’s technology is in fact making that kind of hyper-future increasingly look like our present-day reality.

In a world of iPads, smartphones and “smart” appliances with built-in wifi, it’s time to update our thinking about the possibilities of medical technology—starting with a remarkable advance from a small surgical device company in Massachusetts.

The AC5 Surgical Hemostatic Device™, which is being developed by Arch Therapeutics, Inc., based in Wellesley, MA, would be right at home in the world of Minority Report. It might even have come in handy during some of that movie’s action—particularly the scene in which Cruise transplants his eyes. AC5™ is a peptide that might massively speed up hemostasis, which is the process of ceasing bleeding. The theory is that the faster this happens, the faster and more safely surgeons can do their work in planned operations, emergency surgery and trauma care.

Here’s how it works: the surgeon or other medical professional applies AC5 directly to either a surgical or traumatic wound. AC5 is synthetically made with naturally occurring amino acids. It fills the wound’s nooks and crannies and creates a protective film. After the shielding layer has been applied and bleeding has stopped, doctors may then operate on the exposed area through the patina of AC5.

Another key to understanding AC5 is understanding what it’s not. It’s not sticky or glue-like, so it should not create a mess or a hindrance to surgery. It’s not toxic, based on preclinical testing, so it should be appropriate for use on exposed and highly sensitive areas of the body. And it doesn’t need to be removed, based on animal surgery—once surgery is finished, AC5 is absorbed while the tissues heal. If it sounds like science fiction, then it’s time to rethink things—because this is science on the horizon. AC5—if clinical studies are successful—might one day represent a significant improvement in both speed and efficacy.

Terrence W. Norchi, MD, President and CEO of Arch Therapeutics, says, “Our hope is that AC5 might enhance planned and emergency surgery and trauma care by enabling doctors to work more quickly, more effectively and more safely.”

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