Mussels inspire new surgical adhesive
In recent decades, doctors have found new ways to seal wounds up after a surgical procedure, many using tissue sealants and hemostatic agents to control bleeding. However, it seems many of these products have difficulty being as effective on wet tissue. Bioengineering researchers from Penn State University and the University of Texas-Arlington looked back to nature for potential answers: mussels.
How do mussels stick to seemingly any underwater surface? The researchers studied the chemical structure of the adhesive protein utilized by the mollusks, incorporating the chemistry into an injectable synthetic polymer. Unlike the products currently used in surgery, this new substance has strong adhesion and is biodegradable, meaning it will not have toxic effects within the body.
The mussel-inspired adhesive provided a two-and-a-half to eight times stronger adhesion in wet conditions compared to fibrin glue, which is commonly used in medicine. Because the adhesive is fully synthetic (and only inspired by the shellfish), there is little concern for allergic reactions and side effects were minimal.