Professor Haeshin Lee from the Department of Material Science and Engineering at KAIST recently developed a novel way of injecting shots without causing bleeding. Professor Lee and his research team gained inspiration from the adhesive strategies of the mussel to prevent the common side effect associated with injections. Their research was published on October 3 on the online version of Nature Materials, a scientific journal by Nature Publishing Group.
Injections are an essential part of many critical medical procedures as they are the primary method of inserting and extracting fluids. They are used to collect blood samples, administer intravenous (IV) shots, placing catheters, and to insert a variety of other drugs. After the shot is administered, bleeding can be stopped by applying pressure on the spot of injection. For healthy people, this will normally stop the blood within three minutes. However, for patients of cancer and diabetes or long-term consumers of aspirin, hemostasis may be difficult or even impossible.
In specific, a thin layer is coated onto the surface of the needle, which, upon withdrawal, covers the skin and the inner part of the blood vessels to stop bleeding. Thus, it is important to use an adhesive, film-like material. Many needles used today, however, have adhesive layers that fail to withstand the friction that occurs upon injection.
To solve this problem, the research team headed by Professor Lee used the properties of the mussel to form a more powerful adhesive. Mussels are able to stay bound to ocean rocks despite big waves and currents. Applying these methods to injections, it is possible to produce material that bind tightly, even under very moist environments. The team coated a layer with similar properties onto the layer already existent on the needles to ensure hemostasis.
Professor Lee stated, “This new technology shows successful results in all cases of injections, even with patients of hemophilia, and is applicable to almost every type of injection. It is a revolutionary development that will be used to the benefit of countless patients and has the potential to be incorporated into many other medical procedures.”