Thu, 07/23/2015 - 4:30pm
Greg Watry, Digital Reporter
Image: MarumInspired by biological functions seen in mussels and insects, Korean scientists have manufactured a nontoxic surgical glue, which seals surgical openings within one minute, and may become a viable replacement for sutures and staples.
Mussels, according to Live Science, use silky fibers known as byssus threads to attach themselves to underwater surfaces. Researchers later determined a part of the “mussel ‘glue’ molecule, called catechol, pushes water molecules out of the way to bind directly to (a) wide variety of surfaces,” according to the American Chemical Society. The researchers said the discovery could lead to developing adhesives that work underwater and in the body.
Pohang Univ. of Science and Technology Prof. Hyung Joon Cha and his student Eun Young Jeon report their light-activated, mussel-based bioadhesive, called LAMBA, is compatible with the human body and strong in wet conditions.
“LAMBA opens numerous doors for medical practices, ranging from blocking air leaks and suture-less wound closures of delicate organs (to) tissues beyond surgeons’ reach,” Cha said. The scientists’ findings were reported in Biomaterials.
Unlike previous attempts utilizing mussel adhesive proteins (MAP), Cha and Jeon’s method, through a photochemical reaction, uses blue visible light to activate the adhesive. The idea came from dityrosine crosslinks found in dragonfly wings and insect cuticles.
An illustration from the university shows MAP strands dotted with tyrosine. When blue visible light is applied, neighboring tyrosine are coupled into the aforementioned dityrosine crosslinks.
According to the university, “the invasive nature of traditional methods,” such as sutures and staples, is a drawback due to severe tissue damage, complicated post-treatment management and scars.
According to the university, biologically derived adhesives, such as LAMPA, have an advantage over chemically derived adhesives, such as cyanoacrylates. According to Medscape.org, cyanoacrylates are only used externally, as they cause an “intense inflammatory response” when in contact with surfaces other than skin.
The paper is based on tests performed on animals.