At Purdue University scientists have developed a new surgical glue that’s based on the proteins of sea mussels and other animals. The material, which is able to stick to objects while immersed in a water environment, has recently been tested and shown to work better than existing commercially available products.
While sutures and staples work in most surgical situations, these are more traumatic methods for holding together tissues and are not ideal in all surgical cases.
In order to make a surgical glue that works well underwater and is at the same time non-toxic and biologically compatible with human body, the team looked to living organisms that produce proteins with similar properties being searched for. Specifically, the researchers took cue from 3,4- dihydroxyphenylalanine (aka DOPA), an amino acid that’s a component of proteins that mussels and other animals use to stick to wet rocks.
The new material, currently dubbed ELY16, contains elastin protein that, as the name implies, makes things elastic, and tyrosine amino acid. When the enzyme tyrosinase is added to ELY16, it turns the tyrosine into DOPA and gives the material the impressive property of sticking well to submerged objects.
Here’s a Purdue video showing off the new biological glue:
Study in journal Biomaterials: A bioinspired elastin-based protein for a cytocompatible underwater adhesive…