Posted by: Hourglass PJ20 FEB 2013
Having spent many happy hours as a child collecting mussel shells, I was interested to read some research showing that the chemistry that lets mussels stick to underwater surfaces may also provide a new highly adhesive wound closure. The ability of mussels to stick to rocks and ships in the sea without getting flushed away is apparently due to a highly adhesive protein.
In a search to get round some of the limitations associated with current bioadhesives used in surgery, such as their inability to perform well on wet tissue, US researchers have recently looked at the mussel adhesive protein. Using the chemical structure of this protein, they designed a synthetic family of adhesives called iCMBAs. This involved reacting citric acid, polyethylene glycol and catechol-containing monomers such as dopamine or L-dopa via a one-step polycondensation reaction.
According to the researchers, these newly developed adhesives stick well in wet environments. Compared with current materials such as fibrin glue and cyanoacrylate (super glue) adhesives, iCMBAs are more compatible with physiological tissues, are less associated with allergic reactions and can be made at lower cost.
The researchers tested this new material on mice and found that iCMBAs were 2.5 to 8.0 times more adhesive to wet tissues than fibrin glue. They also stopped bleeding instantly, facilitated wound healing and closed wounds without the use of sutures. Apparently, their rate of degradation can be controlled depending on the length of time the adhesive is needed in a wound.