It turns out that spiders exude “glue” to catch their prey in the rain. This “glue” has inspired a double-sided tape used after surgery. This tape is designed to stick body tissue together after procedures.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology noticed how the spiders’ secretion absorbed water. This helps them to catch their next meal.
The sticky tape uses the same method. It was found to work within seconds during tests on pig skin and lungs.
The team has said that the study needs more research. In the future the tape could be used in place of sutures.
However, the study is still several years away from trials in humans.
Water on the surface of tissues makes them slippery. This makes them difficult to form a tight seal.
Sutures are stitches that hold a wound or cut together. They don’t always work well which can lead to infections and pain.
Tissue glues already exist. However, they can take several minutes to work and may drip on to other body parts.
This led the scientists to turn to nature for inspiration.
Spiders secrete a sticky material containing charged polysaccharides. This material absorbs water from the surface of an insect almost instantaneously. This leaves a small dry patch the glue can then stick to.
This inspired the researchers to use polyacrylic acid on the tape to absorb water from wet body tissues. This activated the glue to stick fast.
The researchers say that adding gelatin or chitosan can make the tape hold its shape for a few days or a month. This depends on how long it needs to last.
‘Tissues that are Fragile’
Scientists have now tested it out on different types of rat and pig tissue. These include the stomach, small intestine, skin and liver.
The author of the study Hyunwoo Yuk said: “It’s very challenging to suture soft or fragile tissues such as the lung and trachea – but with our double-sided tape, within five seconds we can easily seal them.”
The method could also potentially be used to attach medical devices to organs such as the heart. It could be used without causing damage or secondary complications from puncturing tissue.
The researchers are now planning to perform more tests on animals.
CREDIT TO ORIGINAL STORY: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-50235451?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/clm1wxp533pt/animals&link_location=live-reporting-story