Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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A Slimy Stickup
10 September 2017

A Slimy Stickup

Fixing up a human body after surgery is a bit like a delicate craft project, with surgeons using stitches or staples to patch up patients. But these methods can damage delicate tissues, and there’s always a risk of air or fluid leaking through the seams. Another approach is to use medical-grade Superglue, but it only works on dry skin and is only suitable for surface wounds. Scientists have now turned to slimy slugs in search of new glues for sealing internal wounds. Slug slime contains unusually sticky molecules that stay stuck even under water. Using similar molecules produced by algae, researchers have developed glue patches that can seal wounds in the hearts and livers of living animals and stick to bloody, wet skin. Although there’s more work to be done to perfect the slime-based sealant, it could one day be used to stick human hearts and other organs back together.

Written by Kat Arney

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