The shell-less mollusk might turn up to be a hero in the medical industry. These creatures are experts in body moisture as this is the only condition that decides whether they can survive out there or not. That’s because their body is mostly made of water and any sign of drought can dessicate their moist tissue. Scientists discovered that they have a lot to learn from these slimy slugs. Their newly acquired knowledge can help them revolutionize medicine.
Researchers Studied Dusky Arion Slimy Slugs to Create a New Type of Medical Adhesive
A team of scientists at Harvard University was inspired by slugs to discover a new type of adhesive. This substance is strong enough to replace the intrusive sutures, yet elastic enough to withstand an impact following the movements of the body. On top of that, this bio-glue works best under wet conditions.
It all started from slimy slugs and their capability to secrete a type of mucus with which they cover their bodies to preserve the moisture of their tissue. Scientists managed to replicate the beneficial attributes of this substance in a medicinal product intended for humans. The team started off from the Dusky Arion slug. This mollusk creates a special mucus that can defend them against predators.
The result of their experiment is a kind of glue with two essential properties. First of all, it works as an adhesive that is dense enough to stick human tissue together. Secondly, the new substance features a secondary biochemical layer that acts as a shock absorber. The latter stops the glue from falling apart at any sign of strain or physical stress. Researcher Dr. Jianyu Li is confident that his team managed to create a groundbreaking product.
“The applications are pretty broad – the material is very tough, stretchy and compliant.”
Thanks to all its attributes, the medical glue can address multiple applications in surgery. There is no harm in applying it directly on internal organs. This makes it perfect for healing the sensitive tissue of a heart or lungs.
Image source: 1