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‘Slakkenslijm has the potential to save lives’

‘Slakkenslijm has the potential to save lives’

Photo: NU.nl/P Loureiro

The mucus that is produced by snails has recently been applied to surgery. From the successful experiment shows that the mucus as a glue works on wet surfaces.

In a Friday, published article in the scientific journal Science, several experiments are described in which possibilities were tested in order to wet the surfaces to be glued.

The so-called “bio-glue” is, according to the scientists involved “very strong”, flexible, and stays well stuck to the wet surfaces. A team from Harvard university has the means now been successfully used to make a hole in a pig’s heart to fill.

For the “bio-glue” is the slime of the slug. The creature leaves a sticky substance behind to fend off against enemies. The mucus itself is already has a sticky function, but the cushioning effect of the substance ensures that the means is as good glues. From the experiment described in Science, demonstrates that the glue is non-toxic for living tissue,” and in addition, three times as strong as other types of medical adhesive.

Flexible

“The material is very strong, flexible, and compatible, which is very useful when you are dealing with heart or lung tissue”, says one of the researchers involved. The glue might, for example, can be used to fill the skin or can be injected into wounds that are deeper in the body.

The glue has a constructive effect: it is becoming stronger as the longer a tissue is. After a half an hour is as strong as cartilage.

The researchers believe that when the mucus is more developed and ready for large-scale medical use, there is a lot of demand for it. It would be possible can be part of the standard equipment of a surgeon. According to the researchers, it means the potential to improve health care and even save lives.

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