Medicine Inspired by Sandcastle Worms

Medicine Inspired by Sandcastle Worms

Author: Lisa-Marie Rauschendorfer

Methods to seal tissue leaks, to attach devices, and to join tissues together represent a significant challenge during minimally invasive surgeries. Current techniques include sutures and staples, which are difficult to perform.

Tissue glues are a promising alternative. However, conventional tissue glues are applied in a low viscosity state and easily dilute in the wet surgical fields. Polymeric glues on the other hand allow a more precise application due to their higher viscosity, but a drawback here is the challenge of delivery through small-bore needles.

Jeffrey Karp, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, USA, and colleagues were inspired by the granule-packaged glue delivery system of the sandcastle worm and developed a nanoencapsulated viscous glue that can be easily applied. A highly viscous hydrophobic light-activated poly(glycerol sebacate)-acrylate polymer is coated by negatively charged alginate forming easily injectable nanoparticles of the glue. By the subsequent application of a positively charged polymer, the nanoparticulated glue quickly coalesces into a viscous glue with similar properties to the native poly(glycerol sebacate)-acrylate polymer.


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