Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Solving a sticky problem with fetal surgery using a glue inspired by the sandcastle worm

Date:
August 11, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Summary:
In creating an adhesive patterned after glue produced by the lowly underwater sandcastle worm, researchers are reporting that they may have solved the problem of premature births that sometimes result from fetal surgery. It also could open up numerous opportunities to safely perform more complex fetal surgeries in the future.

By creating a glue mimicking an adhesive that sandcastle worms use to make shelters, researchers may have solved a surgical problem causing premature births.
Credit: Fred Hayes, University of Utah

In creating an adhesive patterned after glue produced by the lowly underwater sandcastle worm, researchers are reporting today that they may have solved the problem of premature births that sometimes result from fetal surgery. It also could open up numerous opportunities to safely perform more complex fetal surgeries in the future.

Their report will be presented as part of the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) taking place in San Fransisco this week.

Ruptures of the fetal membranes, or the sac containing the developing baby, occur when surgeons operate on a fetus. It can also happen when they check the fetus for problems such as anatomical abnormalities with a fetoscope, a long, wand-like instrument with a tiny camera at the end. To make room for it, they first create a channel to the fetus using a device with a sharp tip. But this also punctures the fetal membranes. If this causes a leak or rupture, there is a good chance it will lead to a premature birth, the researchers say.

"There are currently no effective treatments for preventing fetal membrane rupture caused by in utero surgery," says study leader Russell J. Stewart, Ph.D. "Using glue in the fluid-filled uterus is challenging. Our water-borne, non-swelling, non-toxic adhesives that won't dissolve in water have ideal properties for this challenging environment. The evidence so far suggests we likely will be able to solve this problem."

The team, in its new research, turned to the sandcastle worm to help solve the problem of creating an adhesive that sticks in a wet environment like the uterus. These creatures routinely glue particles together into protective shelters while completely submerged in water. "The problem of gluing things together underwater has been solved over and over in nature, in many different ways," says Stewart, who is with University of Utah. "Understanding the composition, packaging and chemical mechanisms of natural adhesives is a good starting point for engineering practical and cost-effective synthetic underwater adhesives."

Stewart explains that the team made synthetic polymers that mimic the strong adhesive proteins that sandcastle worms produce. These polymers are charged and can spontaneously come together. They form a "water-immiscible fluid," which means that the polymer adhesive remains separate from water when placed in the body. Thus, it can do its job of repairing punctures.

The team focused on developing a synthetic glue because natural glue can't be harvested directly from the worms or produced from recombinant genes in hosts, he explains. Stewart says another advantage of these new polymers is that they are inexpensive. He adds that they also could be used for nonmedical purposes -- in underwater glues and paints.

"Our adhesive is many times stronger than fibrin-based tissue sealants, which are already approved for clinical use, but are ineffective for sealing fetal membranes," according to Stewart. And, he says, since the synthetic glue doesn't mix with water, it doesn't swell. This is critical for a tissue adhesive inside the body.

He also will report on successful initial experiments with the adhesive in animal tests. This work was done in collaboration with Ken Moise, Jr., M.D., and Ramesh Papanna, M.D., of the Texas Fetal Center. Papanna says that the innovation opens up opportunities for surgeons to perform more complex fetal interventions that are just too risky to attempt currently, such as treating spina bifida.

The researchers acknowledge funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Naval Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society (ACS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society (ACS). "Solving a sticky problem with fetal surgery using a glue inspired by the sandcastle worm." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124332.htm>.
American Chemical Society (ACS). (2014, August 11). Solving a sticky problem with fetal surgery using a glue inspired by the sandcastle worm. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124332.htm
American Chemical Society (ACS). "Solving a sticky problem with fetal surgery using a glue inspired by the sandcastle worm." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124332.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins