Saving Lives: A New Medical Adhesive

Red Blood Cells Flow in Blood Vessel

The new medical adhesive was inspired by flatworms.

McGill University researchers have created a medical adhesive inspired by nature that might save lives.

Around 2 million individuals every year globally pass away from hemorrhage or blood loss. More than 30% of trauma fatalities are caused by uncontrolled hemorrhaging. To stop the bleeding, doctors often apply pressure to the wound and seal it with medical glue. But what happens when exerting pressure is challenging or can make matters worse? Or the wound’s surface is too bloody for glue? Taking inspiration from nature, McGill University researchers created a medical adhesive that could save lives, modeled after structures found in marine organisms such as mussels and flatworms.

“When applied to the bleeding site, the new adhesive uses suction to absorb blood, clear the surface for adhesion, and bond to the tissue providing a physical seal. The entire application process is quick and pressure-free, which is suitable for non-compressible hemorrhage situations, which are often life-threatening,” says lead author Guangyu Bao, a recently graduated Ph.D. student under the supervision of Professor Jianyu Li of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

In putting the new technology to the test, the researchers found that the adhesive promotes blood coagulation. The adhesive can also be removed without causing re-bleeding or even left inside the body to be absorbed.

“Our material showed much better-improved safety and bleeding control efficiency than other commercial products. Beyond bleeding control, our material could one day replace wound sutures or deliver drugs to provide therapeutic effects,” says senior author Professor Jianyu Li.

Reference: “Liquid-infused microstructured bioadhesives halt non-compressible hemorrhage” by Guangyu Bao, Qiman Gao, Massimo Cau, Nabil Ali-Mohamad, Mitchell Strong, Shuaibing Jiang, Zhen Yang, Amin Valiei, Zhenwei Ma, Marco Amabili, Zu-Hua Gao, Luc Mongeau, Christian Kastrup and Jianyu Li, 26 August 2022, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32803-1

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