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Tags: Mussel Inspired Glue Aids Surgery | Cancer Care

Mussel-Inspired 'Glue' Aids Surgery, Cancer Care

By    |   Tuesday, 19 February 2013 05:14 PM EST

Northwestern University researchers have developed new medical adhesives, inspired by the sticky stuff mussels use to cling to rocks in wet conditions, that they say could soon be used to repair damaged body tissues, deliver cancer drugs, and even destroy tumors.
In a presentation this week at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, Phillip Messersmith said the new materials mimic mussel adhesive proteins in ways that make it ideal for three medical applications: sealants for fetal tissue repair, self-setting antibacterial hydrogels, and in cancer drug delivery and treatment.
All of his materials contain a synthetic form of DOPA — short for dihydroxyphenylalanine — one of the keys to mussels' sticking power.
"Mussel adhesion is a remarkable process involving secretion of liquid protein glue that hardens rapidly into a solid, water-resistant adhesive," Messersmith said. "Several aspects of this process inspire our development of synthetic materials for practical applications. An unusually compelling opportunity for translation of mussel-adhesion concepts is in the repair or reconstruction of tissues in the human body, where water is ubiquitous and its presence represents a challenge for achieving desired outcomes."
Messersmith, a professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, said his adhesives were inspired by the sticky glue-like substance produced by the foot of the common mussel for adhering to rocks and other objects in water. Possible medical applications include:
Fetal membrane repair. Premature rupture of sensitive fetal membranes can occur spontaneously or as a result of surgery. The membranes often don’t heal and the ruptures can lead to early labor, premature birth, and other serious complications. Messersmith's rapidly solidifying liquid glue that adheres to the wet tissue could be used to seal fetal membrane defects.
Antibacterial hydrogels. Silver ions, which act as antibacterial agents at low concentrations, can be embedded within Messersmith’s adhesives, allowing them to target infections in the body.
Cancer drug delivery and tumor destruction. One of Messersmith's adhesives forms can be used as drug-delivery vehicles that remain stable in the bloodstream but can target and destroy tumors in several different ways.

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Researchers have developed new medical adhesives, inspired by the sticky stuff mussels use to cling to rocks in wet conditions.
Mussel Inspired Glue Aids Surgery,Cancer Care
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 05:14 PM
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