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Researchers draw inspiration from mussels to create new bioadhesive for surgery

More and more often researchers are turning to nature to develop new medical tools. Around the globe teams are studying porcupine quills to design adhesives that can bind internal tissues more securely, spider webs to create strong, easily removeable bandages, beetle wings to develop ultra-sensitive electronic skin and mosquito mouths to invent pain-free needles.

Now a group of researchers is working to create a new non-toxic bioadhesive that works well in wet environments based on the chemistry that allows mussels to stick to underwater surfaces. Medical News Today reports:

In recent decades bioahesives, tissue sealants and hemostatic agents became the favored products to control bleeding and promote tissue healing after surgery. However, many of them have side effects or other problems, including an inability to perform well on wet tissue.

"To solve this medical problem, we looked at nature," said Jian Yang, associate professor of bioengineering at Penn State. "There are sea creatures, like the mussel, that can stick on rocks and on ships in the ocean. They can hold on tightly without getting flushed away by the waves because the mussel can make a very powerful adhesive protein. We looked at the chemical structure of that kind of adhesive protein."

Yang, along with University of Texas-Arlington researchers Mohammadreza Mehdizadeh, Hong Weng, Dipendra Gyawali and Liping Tang, took the biological information and developed a wholly synthetic family of adhesives. They incorporated the chemical structure from the mussel's adhesive protein into the design of an injectable synthetic polymer. The bioahesives, called iCMBAs, adhere well in wet environments, have controlled degradability, improved biocompatibility and lower manufacturing costs, putting them a step above current products such as fibrin glue and cyanoacrylate adhesives.

Previously: Porcupine’s quills inspire new types of adhesives, needles, Researchers turn to spider webs to design improved medical tape, Researchers look to gecko’s ultra-sticky feet to improve adhesion of bandages, sutures when wet, Beetle wing design inspires ultra-sensitive electronic skin and Researchers turn to mosquito to design painless needle
Photo by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region

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