New Glue Could Mend Broken Hearts

Healing a broken heart used to be a metaphorical saying because there was no really way to mend a heart back together. However, researchers have now created an adhesive that can repair heart wounds. Jeffery M. Karp invented from Harvard Medical School and Dr. Pedro del Nido from Boston’s Children Hospital have created a glue that is as strong as staples or stitches to bond heart tissue back together. Staples and stitches are both not the most practical methods because they can cause problems. They can both damage tissue and don’t provide for a watertight seal and staples usually have to be removed. The glue they designed is strong enough to withstand the stress of a beating heart or the blood vessels without deteriorating.

Once the doctor applies to honey like texture of glue to the area that needs to be sealed, the molecules in the glue begin to work their way into the collagen fibers in the tissue. The doctor then shines an ultraviolet light on the glue that makes its molecules bond to one another causing a strong chain bond. The texture is now a rubberlike material that flows with the natural makeup of the hearts collagen. The glue has been tested to work on both pigs and rats. There are other adhesives out their that have been used but unlike this one, those usually require the tissue to be dried. Human trials still have to be conducted before the product can be used clinically.

Karp and several others have started a company to market the glue called Gecko Biomedical which has so far raised $10 million. The company is hoping to get approval to use  this product that will eliminate the use of stitches and make surgeries easier in Europe by the end of 2015.


1 thought on “New Glue Could Mend Broken Hearts

  1. Weng Ee Then

    This is of particular interest to me because I am one of the many who suffer from what you call a ‘broken heart’. It’s great that there have been experimental studies conducted on pigs and rats but I wonder if there have been any human experiments. While it may be seen as unethical it is necessary because mammals and humans are different. I also wonder about the long term effects of this glue, it raises a lots of questions. Good job!

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