Health Beat: Super sticky spidey tape to the rescue

Health Beat: Super sticky spidey tape to the rescue

BOSTON - What do a spider, porcupine and worm all have in common? The answer is they're allowing researchers to develop a new medical tape that's super sticky and doesn't damage the skin.

It's a new neonatal medical tape that, unlike old tape, doesn't tear the tender skin of babies.

Dr. Jeffery Karp, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and 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 bandage breaks to a middle layer," Karp said.

The Spiny Headed Worm helps Karp's team create a microneedle 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.

"There's a greater chance of engraftment, so less complications and less number of procedures," Karp explained.

Porcupine quills, because of their geometry and backward facing barbs, allow for easier penetration than standard needles.

"When a clinician is pushing a needle, for example, into tissue, if they have to push harder on the needle there is a greater chance of overshooting the injuries," Karp said.

Karp's team believes the biomedical patch could someday deliver medicine to patients. So far, this tape has not gone through human clinical trials.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary

DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Jeffrey Karp

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