Flatworms and mussels inspire life-saving medical glue

A new medical glue that gets its inspiration from marine animals like mussels and flatworms could stop blood loss and save lives. (Credit: Getty Images)

Researchers have created a new, potentially life-saving medical glue inspired by marine animals like mussels and flatworms.

Every year around 2 million people die worldwide from hemorrhaging or blood loss. Uncontrolled hemorrhaging accounts for more than 30% of trauma deaths.

To stop the bleeding, doctors often apply pressure to the wound and seal the site with medical glue. But what happens when applying pressure is difficult or could make things worse? Or the surface of the wound is too bloody for glue?

“When applied to the bleeding site, the new adhesive uses suction to absorb blood, clear the surface for adhesion, and bond to the tissue providing a physical seal,” says Guangyu Bao, a recently graduated PhD student under the supervision of Jianyu Li, professor in the mechanical engineering department at McGill University and lead author of the study in Nature Communications.

“The entire application process is quick and pressure-free, which is suitable for non-compressible hemorrhage situations, which are often life-threatening.”

In putting the new technology to the test, the researchers found that the adhesive promotes blood coagulation and can also be removed without causing re-bleeding or even left inside the body to be absorbed.

“Our material showed much better-improved safety and bleeding control efficiency than other commercial products,” says Li, the study’s senior author. “Beyond bleeding control, our material could one day replace wound sutures or deliver drugs to provide therapeutic effects.”

Source: McGill University