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From futuristic Star Trek-style patches which use chilly plasma as a part of the therapeutic course of to UV-activated superglue, we’ve lined a stunning variety of high-tech wound dressings right here at Digital Developments. However right here’s one we’ve not come throughout earlier than: A particular adhesive that’s in a position to seal up wounds higher than medical alternate options, constructed from a goo excreted from the pores and skin of Chinese language large salamanders.
“This can be a actually thrilling medical adhesive that’s beforehand unavailable,” Yu Shrike Zhang, assistant professor within the Division of Drugs at Harvard Medical Faculty, instructed Digital Developments. “It’s smooth [and] in a position to adjust to the form of the tissue, but strongly adhesive. It sticks not solely flesh collectively, but in addition to fats. It’s non-toxic, being [of] purely organic origin, and utterly degrades over time, leaving no traces within the physique. Most significantly, its supply is renewable, that means which you could repeatedly get hold of it with out worrying an excessive amount of about the fee and in any respect about killing the animal.”
To acquire their glue, Zhang and colleagues scratched the backs of Chinese language large salamanders, which might measure as much as four ft in size and weigh greater than 60 kilos. They then collected the excreted fluid and freeze-dried it to type a powder, which they have been later in a position to rehydrate utilizing water. The adhesive was used to seal up wounds on dwell rats. It did this successfully, leaving no irritation or scar, and permitting hair to regrow.
“It will be appropriate for therapeutic most wounds within the physique,” Zhang mentioned. “Apart from the pores and skin wounds that we proved in [our] paper, we’re additionally actively exploring using this adhesive for different wound therapeutic purposes, exterior and inside. The flexibility to affix fatty tissues is likely to be one thing that might be notably helpful, but clearly not its solely utility eventualities.”
Zhang famous that as a result of grownup salamanders can produce loads of this pure adhesive, there’s presently no want to aim to synthesize the goo. “One grownup salamander can produce loads of these adhesives when they’re lively,” he mentioned. “The one limitation lies when these animals hibernate in winter, making the retrieval of the mucus a bit difficult. Nonetheless, we aren’t fairly frightened about it as a result of quantity that may be collected throughout their lively seasons.”
The group is presently pursuing commercialization alternatives for his or her discovery. A paper describing the work to this point was lately revealed within the journal Superior Practical Supplies.