Researchers at Purdue University recently published findings showing that an adhesive based on a protein from mussels is not toxic to living cells. Although further research will be required before the adhesive can be put to its intended use as a replacement for sutures, staples and screws, the findings bring this potential medical innovation one step closer to realization.
The adhesive, catechol-polystyrene or poly [3,4-dihydroxystyrene)-co-styrene], to give it its full name, is said to be stronger than super-glue, and could eliminate the need for damaging healthy tissue in order to join tissues during surgery. It mimics the mussel’s ability to cling to surfaces and is able to cure quickly under wet conditions, forming strong bonds.
At this stage, only animal trials have been concluded, but the promising findings so far have been welcomed by the medical and academic community, and the new adhesive will undergo further studies to determine whether it is fully bio-compatible.