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Sealant Inspired By Beach Worm Could Become Surgical Superglue

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human heartCardiac surgeon and his colleagues have developed a biodegradable adhesive that can patch a hole in a pig's heart or artery. The experimental glue is nontoxic and is strong enough to hold up under the high pressures in the human heart, the team Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

So far, they've tested the glue only in animals. So the sealant is far from reaching the operating room or battlefield. But del Nido hopes the adhesive will eventually replace traditional sutures and staples for some operations, especially heart surgery.

"A glue is the holy grail for repairing hearts," del Nido tells Shots. "Right now we use sutures. Every time the needle and thread enter normal tissue, they do a little bit of damage. Usually it doesn't matter. But I repair children's hearts. For those, this damage can really be a problem."

Regular superglues don't work well inside the body. "It's a skin glue," del Nido says. "You can't use it internally because it hardens as soon as it comes into contact with water." And the glues are made from a compound called , which can be toxic.


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