Biology Current Affairs

Scientists develop Bio-glue for wound healing

Scientists have developed a super strong, flexible Bio-glue for wound healing without causing toxicity. It has been inspired by an adhesive material (glue) secreted by slugs that sticks to biological tissues

Slugs naturally secrete a special kind of mucus (adhesive material) in its place when threatened, making it difficult for a predator to pry it off its surface.

Key Facts

The bio-glue is double-layered hydrogel consisting of an alginate-polyacrylamide matrix supporting an adhesive layer that has positively-charged polymers protruding from its surface. It bonds to biological tissues via three mechanisms – electrostatic attraction to covalent bonds between neighbouring atoms, negatively charged cell surfaces and physical interpenetration.

This bond makes the adhesive super strong. It is the combination of a very strong adhesive force and has ability to transfer and dissipate stress. It can bind to tissues with strength comparable to the body’s own resilient cartilage.

Applications: The bio-glue has numerous potential applications in the medical field, either as a patch that can be cut to desired sizes and applied to tissue surfaces or can be also used as an injectable solution for deeper injuries.

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Human antibodies produced in lab for first time

Scientists for the first time have produced human antibodies in the laboratory. They have developed revolutionary technique which can help in rapid development of new vaccines to treat a wide range of infectious diseases.

Antibodies

Antibodies mainly function in the humoral adaptive immune system by secreting antibodies to fight off infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and other invasive pathogens. They are produced by body’s B cells (B lymphocytes). When an individual B cell recognises a specific pathogen-derived antigen molecule, it proliferates and develops into plasma cells that secrete large amounts of antibody capable of binding to the antigen and fending off the infection.

Key Facts

To develop revolutionary technique, researchers had replicated the process of natural production of antibodies from B cells isolated from patient blood samples in the laboratory to produce specific antibodies. They had found that B cells need a second signal to start proliferating and developing into plasma cells apart encountering a specific antigen at first instance.

For the second signal they used short DNA fragments called CpG oligonucleotides, which activate a protein named TLR9 inside B cells. However, they found that treating patient-derived B cells with CpG oligonucleotides stimulates every B cell, not just the tiny fraction capable of producing a particular antibody.

So to overcome the problem they treated patient-derived B cells with tiny nanoparticles coated with both CpG oligonucleotides and an antigen. With this technique, CpG oligonucleotides were only internalised into B cells recognising the specific antigen. These cells were only ones in which TLR9 is activated to induce their proliferation and development into antibody-secreting plasma cells.

Significance

Researchers successfully demonstrated their approach using various bacterial and viral antigens, including the tetanus toxoid and proteins from several strains of influenza A. In each case, they were able to produce specific, high-affinity antibodies in just a few days. In some of the anti-influenza antibodies generated by the technique were able to neutralise multiple strains of the virus. They were able to generate anti-HIV antibodies from B cells isolated from HIV-free patients. This approach may help researchers to rapidly generate therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of infectious diseases and other conditions such as cancer.

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