Reliably reconnecting severed tissues is a critical part of any invasive medical procedure. Although, sutures and staples are ideal choices due to their effectiveness, adhesives hold great promise as alternatives for bonding tissues. Although many bio-adhesives are commercially available, no product yet combines all desirable properties such as consistent adhesion to wet surfaces, mechanical durability, molecular-level customizability and biocompatibility.
UC Berkeley research have developed a recombinant protein-based adhesive by chemically functionalizing elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs). These ELPs form stable and flexible hydrogels de-swell in aqueous conditions. An additional strength of using recombinant proteins is exhibited by significantly enhancing cell binding to this ELP by a simple modular addition of an engineered protein with ‘RGD’ peptides.