Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Slug slime inspires new medical glue
The new technology was inspired by the humble slug.
Technology has wide ranging applications

Slug slime has inspired scientists to create a “tough adhesive” that binds to biological tissues, without toxicity, even when they’re wet.

Researchers say the material has far reaching applications in the medical field, either as a patch that can be cut to desired sizes and applied to tissue surfaces or as an injectable solution for deeper injuries.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

“Nature has frequently already found elegant solutions to common problems; it’s a matter of knowing where to look and recognising a good idea when you see one,” says Donald Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute.

“We are excited to see how this technology, inspired by the humble slug, might develop into a new technology for surgical repair and wound healing.”

The adhesive was inspired by a slug called The Dusky Arion, which is commonly found in Europe and the United States. The Dusky Arion secretes a special type of mucus that, when threatened, binds it to the spot, making it difficult for the predator to pry it off.

Previous research showed that its mucus is composed of a tough matrix littered with positively-charged proteins. This inspired the researchers to create a double-layered hydrogel, consisting of an alginate-polyacrylamide matrix. The matrix then supports an adhesive layer that has positively charged polymers protruding from its surface.

They tested the adhesive on an array of wet and dry pig tissues, including skin, heart cartilage, liver and artery. The team found that it stuck to them all with significantly greater strength than other medical adhesives. The adhesive also maintained its stability and bonding when implanted into rats for two weeks and when used to seal a hole in a pig’s heart.

“This family of adhesives has wide-ranging applications,” says co author Dr Adam Celiz, a bioengineering lecturer at Imperial College London. “We could even combine this technology, with soft robotics to make sticky robots, or with pharmaceuticals to make a new vehicle for drug delivery.”

The study, Tough adhesives for diverse wet surfaces, is published in the journal Science

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”