Scientists Invent Barnacle-Inspired Surgical Glue to Stop Bleeding

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Mayo Clinic have developed a surgical glue that stops bleeding in 15 seconds. About 1.9 million people die from blood loss every year, and researchers hope to lower this number with the help of this glue.

Barnacle-inspired surgical glue

The researchers observed that barnacles emit a sticky substance that enables them to stick to any surface, such as whales and ships. They hoped to replicate these results with their surgical glue. 

Barnacles usually produce a sticky substance that contains proteins and several lipids. The lipids clear away contaminants allowing the proteins to bind to a surface. This way, scientists hoped to create a strong adhesive that could stick to body tissues even when covered by blood. 

For their glue, scientists used silicone oil to repel blood and allow the glue to adhere to tissue surfaces. When tested on a pig aorta, scientists found that the burst pressure, the limit reached before a seal ruptured, was high.

Surgeons usually use synthetic agents that trigger coagulation and bring about clotting. However, most of these agents take a couple of minutes to work. The new paste made by researchers takes only 15 seconds and works even before the onset of coagulation.

Physicians could use the surgical glue on trauma victims, patients on blood thinners and those with clotting disorders. However, scientists note that it is still too early into the research to come to any definite conclusions. Despite this, the numerous successful animal trials have left them hopeful.

Slug slime is a stronger adhesive

Researchers believe that slug slime produced by the Dusky Arion, a slug discovered in the United Kingdom, could make a stronger adhesive to prevent scarring and infection.

According to Christopher Gallego-Lazi, an undergraduate researcher, slug slime is powerful and can endure a lot of force. It has a rigid protein network that uses sacrificial bonds to absorb energy. Scientists can alter its strength by adjusting the chemical bonds within the proteins.

Scientists could use the glue to make a medical adhesive that can stretch without affecting its strength and adhesiveness.

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