Here is some interesting and possibly affirmative news about heart repair. A report released in July 2017 science journal describes a glue that has the ability to stick to wet and dynamic surfaces including that of a heart. Many of us are aware of surgical glues used in medical procedures but what we might not be aware of is that most of them turn out to be toxic to the cells.
The glue is very tough and stretchy enough. It is known to be inspired by the slimy and large slug species from Western Europe and North American regions – Arion subfusc. This very characteristic of the slimy slug inspired the researchers to create a man-made version of the same. A slimy slug is made up of polymers which is a straight and long chain of molecules. These are cross-linked to each other. The best part is that the bonds are covalent as well as iconic. This hybridization of slug mucus results in it being highly stretchy and tough. Based on this, the researchers created a similar artificial version of the slug polymer.
This adhesive has been successfully tested on a pig’s heart by researchers at Harvard university’s Wyss Institute for biologically inspired engineering. Besides, they have tested it on a pig’s arteries, liver tissues, skin, cartilage and included blood covered and water inflated hearts. The end result shows that its prowess was eight times as strong as the available surgical glues in the market.
Furthermore, it has been tested on rats as well. The procedure involved an emergency surgery wherein a rat’s liver tissue was sliced up and patched up with the newly created glue as well as a blood staunching product called surgiflo. While the rat that was treated using surgiflo suffered from scar tissue and tissue death, the ones treated using the newfound adhesive showed good blood stoppage and no additional hemorrhaging up to two weeks post-surgery.
Its usability in the operation theatres requires further extensive clinical testing but the researchers are highly positive about its availability for treatment of external wounds sooner than later.