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Customizable Bio-Adhesive Patches for Different Organs Can Seal Internal Wounds

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Feb 2024

The field of adhesives caters to a variety of applications, ranging from everyday uses in materials like paper and fabric to more specialized domains such as woodworking. In the medical field, adhesives are indispensable, serving purposes like suturing internal wounds and affixing sensors or medical devices. Now, researchers have achieved a breakthrough in this field by developing medical adhesives that can be tailored for different organs, offering not only superior underwater adhesion but also composed of natural materials to ensure safety and biocompatibility in the human body.

Researchers at POSTECH (Gyeongbuk. Korea) have developed customized underwater bio-adhesive patches (CUBAPs) by combining mussel adhesive protein with polyacrylic acid and polymethacrylic acid. In its dry form, the adhesive patch is non-sticky but becomes highly adhesive in the human body or other moist environments. The researchers have developed a way to modulate the degradation time and mechanical hardness by altering the ratios of polyacrylic acid and polymethacrylic acid. This adaptability allows for a personalized adhesive solution to meet the varied structural and biological requirements of different organs. The team has engineered three variants of these adhesive patches, successfully applying them in animal treatments and implants.

Image: Researchers have developed novel underwater bio-adhesive patches with mussel adhesive protein (Photo courtesy of POSTECH)
Image: Researchers have developed novel underwater bio-adhesive patches with mussel adhesive protein (Photo courtesy of POSTECH)

The CUBAPs demonstrated robust adhesion in highly dynamic organs, such as the heart and bladder. They also achieved positive outcomes in adjusting biodegradation periods and flexibility for the transplantation of muscle regeneration electronic devices. The CUBAPs can play a vital role in effectively sealing internal wounds, leaks, and perforations across various organs, thereby supporting healing and tissue regeneration. As the research and implementation of internal transplant devices grow, there is increasing demand for adhesives that can reliably secure these devices, ensuring robust underwater adhesion and minimal side effects. The customization of properties like biodegradation time is critical, given the distinct biological environments of different organs. Presently, the CUBAPs are under clinical assessment to reduce scarring in skin closures.

“This research paves the way for personalized medical applications. We plan to enhance and refine the process through subsequent studies, with the goal of effective applications in diverse biomedical fields,” said Hwa Hui Shin, a senior researcher from K-MEDI Hub. “Our study has confirmed the effectiveness and versatility of the developed bio-adhesive patches. We look forward to their evolving into commercial products, meeting the demands of the healthcare sector.”

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