‘Bio-inspired’ biodegradable surgical glues/patches

Gecko Biomedical’s proprietary technology platforms are fully synthetic bioinspired light-activated tissue adhesives with strong adhesive and sealing capacity. The adhesives have unique chemical and physical properties, including high viscosity, hydrophobicity and on demand curing. These features allow them to be delivered through minimally invasive procedures to challenging wet environments, with no requirement for tissue drying prior adhesive application.

From http://info.admet.com/industry-news/bid/74862/MIT-Researchers-Working-to-Develop-Biomimetic-Medical-Adhesive

Many of us know that geckos can help save us money on car insurance.  As if that wasn't enough, MIT researchers led by Professor Jeffrey Karp are now attempting to add breakthrough medical adhesives to this unassuming lizard's list of achievements.

These researchers recognized the need for tough biodegradable polymer adhesives that can recover from mechanical deformations while remaining strongly attached to the underlying tissue.  Although numerous tissue adhesive are currently available on the market, none of them can withstand high tensile strength or can be applied in a tape or sheet format with a programmable degradation rate that coincides with healing.  An adhesive with these capabilities would be very useful as a substitute or replacement for sutures that can be difficult to manipulate during laparoscopic or microscopic procedures.  This could potentially lead to shortened operating time and reduce complications such as infection.

The team at MIT turned to nature for inspiration, specifically the incredible adhesive properties found in the gecko's ability to attach to vertical surfaces while supporting their own weight.  This remarkable characteristic is possible due to the fine hairs found on each gecko foot.  As many as 500,000 of these hairs, or pillars, can be found on each of the gecko's feet, each tipped with hundreds of projections known as spatulae.  The pillars of spatula allow the gecko foot to conform and adhere to a variety of rough terrain.

2012 paper: Gecko-Inspired Tape-Based Adhesives

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