Gel Derived from Squid may Reduce Bleeding, Scarring During Surgery

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 18 2007 3:35 PM

University of Otago chemists have patented a gel derived from the squid, a sea animal with long body and ten arms around its mouth, which they claim can reduce both bleeding and scarring during a surgery.

Professor Brian Robinson has revealed that he started developing the gel after his son, Wellington surgeon Simon, asked him to do so.

Every year, doctors in New Zealand conduct several thousand endoscopic sinus operations to relieve sinusitis.

The operation leaves about a third of patients with a type of scarring known as “adhesions”, which can block sinus passages and require further surgery.

Professor Robinson has revealed that university chemists decided to try using a chemically modified form of the polymer chitosan, derived from the body part of squid and crabs.

"We were lucky. The first thing that we tried worked," the NZPA quoted him as saying.

University of Adelaide researchers have tested the gel on sheep, which have a similar sinus structure to humans.

The researchers have also conducted a small patient trial, and now plan to undertake larger ones.

So far as using the gel is concerned, the researchers have revealed that they mix ingredients from two tubes and spray it into the patient’s nose. The gel then forms a thick, sticky layer, which gradually leaves the nose over two days. As it reduces bleeding during surgical procedures, doctors can have a better view of what they are doing.

Professor Robinson has revealed that despite being made from a fish extract, the gel does not smell.

"It's really a very exciting product which may have a profound effect on a lot of people around the world, not only for the sinuses but other surgery," he said.