While sutures and staples have been used for decades to close wounds or surgical incisions, each has their own drawbacks. Suturing can be time-consuming and can lead to extended and costly procedures.
Staples are limited to use during open procedures and can cause tissue damage upon insertion, which can lead to infection. Moreover, neither offers a waterproof seal and are much stiffer than tissue, which can cause damage over time.
Researchers in Jeffrey Karp's lab at Brigham and Women's Hospital turned to nature in hopes for a better solution. The team was inspired by the Dusky Arion slug's elastic defensive slime. The slime, a mucus-based multicomponent glue that makes the slug bond to surfaces and difficult to remove, is 97 percent water and contains two intertwined polymers with a net negative charge and positively charged proteins.