The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD -

In­spired by slug slime, sci­en­tists have de­vel­oped a flex­i­ble ad­he­sive that sticks to wet sur­faces. This stretchy glue can be at­tached to a beat­ing, bleed­ing heart and could some­day re­place stitches in wound re­pair.

Other com­mer­cially avail­able glues cre­ate strong but in­flex­i­ble bonds or stretchy but weak con­nec­tions. The slug-in­spired glue ce­ments tightly and it is held to­gether by a stretchy ma­trix.

The stick­ing power of this ad­he­sive is “prob­a­bly on the or­der of 10 times bet­ter than what’s cur­rently on the mar­ket,” said Phillip Messer­smith, a pro­fes­sor of bio­engi­neer­ing at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia not in­volved with the study.

In ad­di­tion to glu­ing things to­gether, the ad­he­sive could be used to de­liver slow-re­lease med­i­ca­tions. Most in­trigu­ingly, said Niko­lay Vasi­lyev of Bos­ton Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, one of the study au­thors, the flex­i­bil­ity of the ad­he­sive means it could be used in the hearts of chil­dren with car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease.

The study was pub­lished Thurs­day in the jour­nal Sci­ence.

Jianyu Li, a post­doc­toral re­searcher at Har­vard and first au­thor of the study, hopes the team might be able to de­sign ad­he­sives that dis­solve over time as a com­plete al­ter­na­tive to stitches.

In­spired by slugs, sci­en­tists have de­vel­oped a bio-ad­he­sive that could be used in­stead of su­tures. In ex­per­i­ments the ma­te­rial stuck strongly to skin, car­ti­lage, ar­ter­ies, liv­ers and hearts, even when wet.

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