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Elastic Glue for Heart Surgery Inspired By Slugs

Science & Tech  (tags: interesting, discovery, concept, research, slugs, glue, surgery, design, health )

- 1557 days ago -
Researchers in Boston have developed a medical adhesive they say can seal holes in the heart and other tissue, an advance that could replace the use of staples and sutures to close wounds.

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Michael O (176)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 6:46 am
The new adhesive, invented by Canadian-born Harvard medical school associate professor Jeffrey Karp, was inspired by the sticking abilities of slugs.

It's both water-resistant and elastic, allowing it to stretch as a beating heart expands and contracts.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks, Karp tells host Bob McDonald that the glue only becomes active when ultraviolet light shines on it, so surgeons can more accurately bind the adhesive exactly where needed.

A biodegradable adhesive in the body offers advantages over metal-based staples or sutures, he added.

“Sutures and staples really are not mechanically similar to the tissues in the body, so they can induce stress on the tissue over time,” said Karp, who is also a co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“This is a material that’s made from glycerol and sebacic acid, both of which exist in the body and can be readily metabolized,” he said. “What happens over time is that this material will degrade. Cells will invade into it and on top of it, and ideally the hole will remain closed and the patient won’t require further operations.”

Researchers from Boston Children’s, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology helped to develop the nontoxic substance.

The adhesive has been tested successfully on the hearts of pigs and rats, and on the carotid artery of a pig. The researchers hope the product will be on the market within the next two to three years.

David C (133)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 9:32 am
this is so cool...and shows how amazingly humans can look at our world and think when we overcome our desire to destroy it for selfish purposes....

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 9:58 am
How wonderful this sounds! Thx Michael

Roger G (154)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 1:56 pm
noted, thanks

Nancy C (806)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 2:02 pm
My daughter is having a tough time with the 10 inched of sutures down her widdle belly. Although they're meant to "melt" away, she's had much discomfort and actually pushes and snips them occasionally...Would like to see this for internal and external usage!

. (0)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 5:47 pm
Sounds promising. Thanks for sharing, Michael.

aj E (164)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 5:52 pm

Twyla S (208)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 6:48 pm
good,, sounds good anyway

Twyla S (208)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 6:52 pm
nice news

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 8:28 pm
Interesting article, one never knows what they will look into next.

Maureen C (4)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 11:00 pm
Well, wow! I've been looking at slug slime for a few years because of its special properties, such as not dissolving in water or soap -- when you get it on your fingers, you have to scrub it off with a nail brush. This good! I've never been a big fan or wire or sutures in living flesh.

Also, cardiologists at Sunnybrook Hospital have been developing a Super glue to replace wire in fastening bone, such as the sternum, which is split during open-chest surgery, and can be miserably-painful healing.

We're getting there!

Thanks Michael

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