Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Secrets of the sandcastle worm could yield a powerful medical adhesive

The sandcastle worm makes a protective home out of beads of zirconium oxide in a lab. At the University of Utah, scientists have created a synthetic version of this glue for possible use in repairing fractured bones.

Credit: Fred Hayes
The sandcastle worm makes a protective home out of beads of zirconium oxide in a lab. At the University of Utah, scientists have created a synthetic version of this glue for possible use in repairing fractured bones.

Credit: Fred Hayes

Abstract:
Scientists have copied the natural glue secreted by a tiny sea creature called the sandcastle worm in an effort to develop a long-sought medical adhesive needed to repair bones shattered in battlefield injuries, car crashes and other accidents. They reported on the adhesive here today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Secrets of the sandcastle worm could yield a powerful medical adhesive

Washington, DC | Posted on August 17th, 2009

"This synthetic glue is based on complex coacervates, an ideal but so far unexploited platform for making injectable adhesives," says Russell Stewart, Ph.D. "The idea of using natural adhesives in medicine is an old one dating back to the first investigations of mussel adhesives in the 1980s. Yet almost 30 years later there are no adhesives based on

The traditional method of repairing shattered bones is to use mechanical connectors like nails, pins and metal screws for support until they can bear weight. But achieving and maintaining alignment of small bone fragments using screws and wires is challenging, Stewart said. For precise reconstruction of small bones, health officials have acknowledged that a biocompatible, biodegradable adhesive could be valuable because it would reduce metal hardware in the body while maintaining proper alignment of fractures.

Stewart and colleagues duplicated the glue that sandcastle worms (Phragmatopoma californica) use while building their homes in intertidal surf by sticking together bits of sand and broken sea shells. The inch-long marine worm had to overcome several adhesive challenges in order to glue together its underwater house, and its ingenuity has served as a recipe for Stewart's research team in developing the synthetic adhesive.

Stewart's challenge was to devise a water-based adhesive that remained insoluble in wet environments and was able to bond to wet objects. The team also concentrated on key details of the natural adhesive solidification process a poorly timed hardening of the glue would make it useless, Stewart said. They learned the natural glue sets in response to changes in pH, a mechanism that was copied into the synthetic glue.

The new glue, says Stewart, a bioengineer at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, has passed toxicity studies in cell culture. It is at least as strong as Super Glue and is twice as strong as the natural adhesive it mimics, he notes.

"We recognized that the mechanism used by the sandcastle worm is really a perfect vehicle for producing an underwater adhesive," Stewart said. "This glue, just like the worm's glue, is a fluid material that, although it doesn't mix with water, is water soluble."

Stewart has begun pilot studies focused on delivering bioactive molecules in the adhesive that could allow it to fix bone fragments and deliver medicines to the fracture site, such as antibiotics, pain relievers or compounds that might accelerate healing.

"We are very optimistic about this synthetic glue," he said. "Biocompatibility is one of the major challenges of creating an adhesive like this. Anytime you put something synthetic into the body, there's a chance the body will respond to it and damage the surrounding tissue. That's something we will monitor, but we've seen no indication right now that it will be a problem."

####

About American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 154,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Bernstein

202-872-6042

Copyright © American Chemical Society

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Video - Watch a narrated video of the sandcastle worm building a home in a lab using bits of silicon.

Video - Russell Stewart's adhesive glues together submerged pieces of bone. Watch a narrated video of the adhesive at work.

Related News Press

News and information

Diamonds closer to becoming ideal semiconductors: Researchers find new method for doping single crystals of diamond May 25th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Videos/Movies

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

Graphene makes rubber more rubbery May 23rd, 2016

ORNL demonstrates large-scale technique to produce quantum dots May 21st, 2016

Technique improves the efficacy of fuel cells: Research demonstrates a new phase transition from metal to ionic conductor May 18th, 2016

Discoveries

Diamonds closer to becoming ideal semiconductors: Researchers find new method for doping single crystals of diamond May 25th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

Diamonds closer to becoming ideal semiconductors: Researchers find new method for doping single crystals of diamond May 25th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

Graphene makes rubber more rubbery May 23rd, 2016

Announcements

Diamonds closer to becoming ideal semiconductors: Researchers find new method for doping single crystals of diamond May 25th, 2016

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials: Defects in some new electronic materials can be removed by making ions move under illumination May 24th, 2016

Attosecond physics: A switch for light-wave electronics May 24th, 2016

Supercrystals with new architecture can enhance drug synthesis May 24th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic