Blood vessel 'glue' inspired by nature

Dec. 12, 2012 at 5:07 PM
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VICTORIA, British Columbia, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A gel based on a compound mussels use to cling to rocks can be painted onto the walls of blood vessels to create a life-saving glue, Canadian scientists say.

Similar to the amino acid that enables mussels to resist the power of churning water, the biological "glue" can withstand the flow of blood through arteries and veins and could reinforce weakened blood vessel walls at risk of rupturing, the University of British Columbia reported Wednesday.

UBC professor Christian Kastrup helped develop the compound while a postdoctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

It can shore up the walls of arteries much like the way putty can fill in dents in a wall, Kastrup said.

By forming a stable barrier between blood and the vessel walls, the gel could prevent the inflammation that typically occurs when a stent is inserted to widen a narrowed artery or vein, the researchers said.

"By mimicking the mussel's ability to cling to objects, we created a substance that stays in place in a very dynamic environment with high flow velocities," Kastrup, a member of UBC's Centre for Blood Research, said.

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