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Design Issues for Tissue Adhesives

SpecialChem / Apr 16, 2008

The heroic tale of how humble superglue saved lives in Vietnam by providing a quick way to close wounds and stop bleeding is surprisingly widely told – and almost too good to believe1. Today various tissue adhesives, including superglue-style cyanoacrylates, have made it to the medical mainstream but integrating these with the human body presents unusual challenges for adhesive scientists. The precautionary principle in medicine, as embodied by the Hippocratic oath, makes entry into the world's surgical markets a difficult process. Consequently, proving that an adhesive is effective and safe in treating injuries can be a much greater concern than formulating advanced adhesives and this must be recognised before advancing down the development path. Specific requirements vary for different adhesives but several fundamental criteria are likely to be common to all. Some key tests include assessing biocompatibility and sterility, as well as animal and clinical tests to demonstrate safety for humans.

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