Snails, slugs and worms secrete a sticky substance that helps to reduce friction and allows them to travel more efficiently. But have you ever seen dried snail trails? That stuff is impossible to remove! For such small, slimy creatures, they sure do leave their marks.
Researchers were intrigued by the properties of these secretions, and they were inspired to create a new surgical glue! This glue is elastic and biodegradeable, sticks to wet tissue, repels blood and water, and can withstand the pressure of a pumping heart and flowing blood. And there’s a chemical in this glue that is activated by ultraviolet light, allowing it to seal wounds while still remaining elastic.
Incisions into delicate tissues can be difficult to close, and this new glue could really give doctors more options. Specifically, researchers are hoping that this glue will revolutionize heart surgery and pediatric surgery. Initial research has been very promising, and this glue will soon be used to seal suture holes that are created during cardiac surgery. If this goes well, future research will involve using this glue in place of sutures, and we’ll have to thank the snails for their inspiration!