The strength of these molluscs is not in their muscles – their ability to cling to rocks is based on a powerful superglue they produce. Waterproof and durable, mussel glue has the perfect properties for repairing damaged blood vessels, and so work to create a synthetic version is underway. Current methods to heal blood vessels often involve implanting small drug-emitting devices, at the price of further tissue injury. What’s more, this is extremely inefficient, as the torrent of blood sweeps the drugs away before they can act. Fixing drugs within a substance painted onto a vessel's inner wall could provide a more controlled and effective alternative. Using a gel inspired by mussel glue, scientists have done just this. The protection provided by this layer, combined with the targeted drug release, reduced inflammation and kick-started healing within mice blood vessels – a promising sign for sufferers of circulatory system diseases.
Written by Jan Piotrowski