Researchers at Okayama University in Japan have identified a new type of biocompatible adhesive material made from nanoparticles of hydroxyapatite, glues both synthetic hydrogels and mouse soft tissue. It is described in Acta Biomaterialia, providing a promising alternative to organic materials currently in use for clinical applications.

The finding offers an alternative to surgical stitching with suture, the practice of using adhesive organic materials for joining soft tissue has been around for decades.  The findings of Matsumoto and colleagues are relevant for developing new procedures for surgical-wound healing and drug-delivery technologies.

According to the researchers the finding will help in developing an efficient approach to close incised soft tissues and in finding novel ways to integrate soft tissues with synthetic hydrogels such as drug reservoirs.

However, the currently used clinical adhesives often suffer from limited biocompatibility and  sub-optimal adhesive strength.  A team of researchers led by Takuya Matsumoto from Okayama University and colleagues has now identified a class of biocompatible–biodegradable compounds showing promising adhesion properties when applied to mouse soft tissues.

The scientists relied on the recent discovery that certain nanostructured materials display remarkable adhesiveness.    In order to achieve the level of biocompatibility required for clinical usage, Matsumoto and colleagues experimented with nanoparticles of hydroxyapatite (HAp), an inorganic material found in human hard tissues such as bones and teeth.  HAp-composites are routinely used for orthopedic and dental implants, as well as in tissue engineering.