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Slug-inspired adhesive shows promise in treating wet wounds

The adhesive material adheres to biological tissue Photo: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Inspired by slug secretion properties, scientists and engineers from Harvard have engineered a flexible, medical bandage made out of biomaterials that is able to adhere to wet or bloody wounds without serious side effects, according to a new study published in Science Thursday. The "tough adhesive" (TA) also is strong enough to transfer and dissipate stress, so it can be applied to beating hearts or to skin over joints.

Why this matters: Many current adhesive products are toxic to cells, inflexible when they dry, and do not bind strongly enough to biological tissue especially if the tissue is wet. Scientists have been researching tissue bioadhesives for years, due to the need to promptly control bleeding after trauma or during surgery to avoid severe blood loss in a manner that would also lessen the risk of infection or toxic reaction.