One of the recently developed technologies has laid a foundation for addressing the issue of blooding in medical situations by taking advantage of the characteristics of living organisms in the natural ecosystem.
The research team led by Prof. Lee Haeshin of the Department of Chemistry has successfully developed a needle that causes no blood, thanks to the biomedical material mimicking the adhesive function of mussels.
In general, a number of medical treatments are provided through syringes, followed by hemostasis of the affected part for a few minutes. Whereas most healthy people can effectively stop their blood within three minutes, it is often difficult or impossible to stop blood of patients suffering from cancer, diabetes, and hemophilia as well as patients taking aspirin for a long period during lengthy hospitalization.
Consequently, the styptic material must be firmly coated onto the surface of needles before injection and, after injection, it must be attached to the inside walls of blood vessels or to the skin for the purposes of hemostasis. The styptic materials that have been used have weak mechanical properties and therefore cannot bear the frictional force resulting from injection.
The research team observed that mussels use byssuses (a bundle of scleroprotein fiber found in fish and shellfish and adhere to rocks on the coast to withstand the rough sea waves. The team imitated the structure of mussel byssus and employed the catecholamine ingredient in byssus to finally develop a needle with a film having styptic functionality.
Once contacting blood, as the researchers explain, the film instantly changes into the form of a hydrogel with high moisture content, resulting in hemostasis. When such adhesiveness is combined with medical technology, the film can produce an outstanding level of adhesiveness within the human body, approximately 70% of which is water.
“The new technology will help patients with a blood coagulation disorder, as it can bring a significant effect for all vein and muscle injections as well as effective functions for hemostasis models,” explained Prof. Lee Haeshin. “I anticipate seeing more new technologies to be developed, through combination with a range of invasive medical devices including catheters and biopsy needles.”
The research results were published on October 3 in the online edition of Nature Materials.