(09/25/13) - What do a spider, porcupine, and a worm all have in common?
They're allowing researchers to develop a new medical tape that's super sticky
and doesn't damage the skin.
First up, the gift of the spider - a new neonatal medical tape. Unlike standard medical tape, this one doesn't tear babies' tender skin.
Harvard Professor Jeffery Karp and his team at Brigham and Women's Hospital, used geometry from the spider's web and added a third layer to the bandage.
"We changed the point where the, um, bandage breaks to a middle layer," Karp says.
So far, the tape has not gone through human clinical trials.
Meanwhile, the spiny headed worm helps Karp's team create a micro needle adhesive patch to help keep skin grafts in place. Inspired by a parasite worm feeding off fish, scientists designed these needles to grab onto the skin, swell up, and lock in.
"So less, um, complications, less number of procedures," Dr. Karp said.
Finally, porcupine quills, because of their geometry and backward facing barbs, allow for easier penetration than standard needles, Karp says, "if they have to push harder on the needle, there is greater chance of overshoot injuries."
The staying power of the quills is also the inspiration for a biomedical patch. Karp's team believes the biomedical patch could someday deliver medicine to patients.
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