Health Report: A New Medical Tape That Doesn't Damage Skin 10/02/13

Published 10/19 2013 04:31PM

Updated 10/19 2013 05:31PM

It sounds like the beginning of a riddle: What do a spider, porcupine and a worm all have in common?
The answer: They're allowing researchers to develop a new medical tape that' doesn't damage the skin.
Lou Baxter explains in today's Health Report.

A spider, a spiny headed worm and a porcupine. Turns out, their secrets to survival could mean less pain for patients.

Jeffrey Karp, Phd, Associate Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital division of biomedical engineering says: "We've really solved a major problem here."

The solution, a new neonatal medical tape. Unlike other tapes, this one doesn't tear babies tender skin.
Harvard professor, Jeffery Karp and his team at Brigham and Women's Hospital, used geometry from the spider's web and added a third layer to the bandage.

Dr. Karp, "We changed the point where the bandage breaks to a middle layer."

The spiny headed worm helps Karp's team create a micro needle 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.

Dr.Karp, "So there's less complications, less number of procedures."

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

Dr. Karp "If they have to push harder on the needle, there is greater chance of overshoot injuries."

The staying power of the quills is also the inspiration for a biomedical patch.

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