In August, Karen wrote a post looking at the use of maggots and leeches in the medtech industry. Well, it appears that materials inspired by other creepy crawlies could make their medtech debut in the future. Researchers at Ithaca College are examining the potential use of synthetic slug slime as a medical adhesive.

Professor Andrew Smith and his team are working to create a synthetic version of slug slime for use in medical applications. Smith has discovered that slug slime functions like a gel, retaining flexibility upon application and taking shape quickly. The substance contains metal ions that can help the gel become firm and strong, which would provide an effective sealant even if the wound site is stressed by bending or movement. In addition, unlike current medical adhesives, slug slime can adhere to moist surfaces. Smith describes the substance as behaving like a sticky rubber band.

If Smith is successful, the synthetic slug slime could eventually be used to treat and seal wounds, and could potentially offer an alternative to stiches or sutures. Sutures are known to sometimes fail or leak, and current medical adhesives are effective only for specific types of wounds.

It may not be too long before nurse, slug slime please becomes a common refrain in hospitals.


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