Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crabs and eyeballs not usually a good mix

Australian scientists have developed a new type of surgical glue, made from crab shells, that could replace stitches now used in eye surgery.
The liquid, which is painted onto a wound or incision and then heat sealed with an infrared laser, cuts the risk of infection and scarring that can cause vision loss.
Co-inventor of "SurgiLux", Associate Professor John Foster who leads the University of NSW's Biopolymer Research Group, said it could also be used safely in brain and nerve surgery.
"Some glue technologies rely upon ultra-violet for wound bonding but aren't really suitable because UV-rays damage living cells," Dr Foster said in a statement.
"The beauty of SurgiLux is that an infrared laser doesn't cause tissue damage ... better still, it has inherent anti-microbial properties, which discourage post-operative infections."
The green-coloured polymer is made from crab-shell extract and it is biodegradable.
A commercial backer for the product is now being sought, to fund further clinical trials ahead of a possible launch on the global tissue sealants market.
This market was estimated at more than $500 million in 2008, with an eight per cent annual growth rate.
NewSouth Innovations (NSi), the university's commercialisation body, controls the rights to the invention.
"NSi and the inventors of SurgiLux are seeking partners to clinically and commercially develop this proprietary technology," said NSi Business Development Manager Dr Alfredo Martinez-Coll.
"The nature of the investment would be through collaborative research and or a licence deal.

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