Medical science has been gifted a new adhesive usable for repairing bones shattered in battlefield injuries, car crashes and other accidents by the tiny sea creature called the sandcastle worm. Scientists found the glue secreted by the worm to be of high medical utility.
The traditional method of repairing shattered bones involves use of mechanical fasteners like pins and metal screws to support the bone during healing.
But achieving and maintaining alignment of small bone fragments using screws and wires is challenging, according to researchers.
Russell Stewart, a bioengineer at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, has determined that by copying the natural glue secreted by the sandcastle worm, the new medical adhesive might be made.
He said that this synthetic glue is based on complex coacervates, an ideal but so far unused method for making injectable adhesives.
Coacervates are tiny spherical droplets of assorted organic molecules (specifically, lipid molecules) that are held together by hydrophobic forces from a surrounding liquid.
According to Stewart, the idea of using natural adhesives in medicine is an old one dating back to the first investigations of mussel adhesives in the 1980s.
Yet, almost 30 years later, there are no adhesives based on natural adhesives used in the clinic.
Now, with the synthetic glue, bones shattered in battlefield injuries, car crashes and other accidents, might be mended effectively.