When researchers at the University of Tsukuba in Japan were looking for biomaterials that could improve the performance of surgical sealants, they turned to a familiar cold-water fish: Alaska pollock.

The results of their tests on rodent and pig tissue were published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, a peer-reviewed scientific journal that focuses on bioengineered materials, in October. 

Surgical sealants are mainly used to stop bleeding in wounds from surgical cuts during a procedure. The first sealants were invented in 1909, and made from human plasma and an enzyme derived from cattle. But according to a rehash of the technology’s history, (“Evolution of hemostatic agents in surgical practice,” Indian Journal of Urology, 2010), they came with steep drawbacks. Patients’ immune systems often reacted poorly to the material. And at the time, human plasma screening was inadequate to prevent transmission of blood-borne viruses to patients. This led to new viral infections.

Read the full story

Have you listened to this article via the audio player above?

If so, send us your feedback around what we can do to improve this feature or further develop it. If not, check it out and let us know what you think via email or on social media.

A collection of stories from guest authors.

Join the Conversation