CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--MIT researchers and colleagues have created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by gecko lizards that may soon join sutures and staples as a basic operating room tool for patching up surgical wounds or internal injuries.
Drawing on some of the principles that make gecko paws unique, the surface of the bandage has the same kind of nanoscale hills and valleys that allow the lizards to cling to walls and ceilings. Layered over this landscape is a thin coating of glue that helps the bandage stick in wet environments, such as to heart, bladder or lung tissue. And because the bandage is biodegradable, it dissolves over time and does not have to be removed.
The team is led by MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer and Jeff Karp, an instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Both are also faculty members at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).
The work will be described in the Feb. 18 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
There is a big need for a tape-based medical adhesive, said Karp. For instance, a surgical adhesive tape made from this new material could wrap around and reseal the intestine after the removal of a diseased segment or after a gastric bypass procedure. It could also patch a hole caused by an ulcer. Because it can be folded and unfolded, it has a potential application in minimally invasive surgical procedures that are particularly difficult to suture because they are performed through a very small incision.
Gecko-like dry adhesives have been around since about 2001 but there have been significant challenges to adapt this technology for medical applications given the strict design criteria required. For use in the body, they must be adapted to stick in a wet environment and be constructed from materials customized for medical applications. Such materials must be biocompatible, meaning they d
|Contact: Elizabeth Thomson|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology