Researchers develop new surgical adhesive inspired by slug secretions

slug

Slugs are seldom talked about in a positive light, but this evening will be an exception.

Researchers at Harvard University studied slug secretions closely and somebody had an eureka moment. Based on the goo that the molluscs leave everywhere they wander to, some clever folk have developed a substance inspired by the sticky and elastic material secreted by the Arion subfuscus species of slug.

The new adhesive combines the positively-charged polymers found in slug goo with hydrogels, forming a bond, and the resulting substance is a strong adhesive that can stick to skin, cartilage, arteries, and other types of living tissues without the issues that current medical glues have.

Currently used products can be easily dislodged, can be toxic to certain tissues, and may become brittle. The new glue shows greater strength than the current generation of surgical adhesives, and crucially, is elastic (testing showed that it can stretch to 14 times its original size before failing), and sticks slowly over a period of time, which facilitates easy re-positioning if needed. Also, the new product demonstrated low toxicity to living tissue.

The adhesive is not commercially available yet, but shows the incredible potential in something as insignificant as a garden slug.

 

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