>> These slimy creatures could transform surgery. Scientists have developed an experimental surgical glue inspired by the mucus secreted by slugs. The team at Harvard University and other research centers say the new adhesive could offer an alternative to sutures and staples for closing wounds. Medical glues that already exist often stick weakly and cannot be used in very wet conditions, for example, where there's lots of bleeding.
Reuters science and health correspondent Ben Hershler, says slugs' super qualities can overcome this.>> Slugs are really clever, I mean they're well known for sliding along on slime, but they can also become very sticky when they need to defend themselves. And they do this in two ways. They have a very adhesive system of sticking to things.
But then they also have a very flexible matrix which they produce which makes their bond very strong but also flexible, not brittle at all.>> Emulating slug slime, the new glue is based on the same principles. A series of experiments were reported in the Journal of Science on Thursday.
The adhesive attached strongly to pig skin, cartilage, tissue, and organs, and it was also non-toxic to human cells.>> They've tested this approach on a couple of animals. They did it with a pig's heart which had a hole in it, and it was covered in blood, and they managed to seal it over and make it really leak-proof even though it was inflated and deflated tens of thousands of times.
They also tested it on a rat's liver that had had a major laceration in it, and they found that the adhesive was just as good as a hemostat which is a kind of common surgical tool that's used. The scientific group is applying for patents, but it will need a commercial company to license the technology and take it onto the next phase of human clinical trials.
It would likely be years before the slug-inspired glue makes it into the operating theater.