The scientists at the University of Utah have created a synthetic version of superglue which is produced naturally by the sea worms called Phragmatopoma californica. It might be possible to repair fractured human bones with its help. The worms Phragmatopoma californica inhabit the ocean floor along the California coast. They build “castles” using sand and shattered sea shells, sticking them together with their special glue. The glue hardens in 30 seconds after a worm produces it. Usually these worms build their sandcastles close to each other. This results in big colonies like coral reefs which are also stuck together with the glue.
The first task of the researchers was to determine the exact composition of the glue that successfully hardens in the sea water. After they accomplished this task, the scientists developed the production technology for a synthetic version of the glue.
The researchers now envision that the glue might make a little revolution in traumatology. Practically, the broken bone is very difficult to join – many small shatters just don’t hold in place. It leads to numerous problems.
Moreover, high adhesive ability of the glue will make the fractured bone stronger than healthy one. The glue can also be used to bring the necessary medicines like antibiotics and antiseptics or even hormones straight to the point of fracture.
The University of Utah has announced the testing on animals to be conducted within the nearest 2 years. If it is successful, in 5-10 years it will be possible to use the glue for the treatment of people.
For more details see the publications in Macromolecular Biosciences magazine.