Over the weekend Dr Harry Coover, inventor of ‘Super Glue’ died aged 94. As with many inventions it is no surprise to read that Super Glue was invented by accident. During World War II, Dr Coover was part of a team conducting research with cyanoacrylates in an effort to find a way to make a clear plastic that could be used for precision gunsights for soldiers. During this period the researchers discovered that they were extremely sticky, and this property made them very difficult to work with. Consequently they were rejected for this application. While much attention was given to the glue’s capacity to bond solid materials, Dr Coover was the first to recognize and patent cyanoacrylates as a tissue adhesive. First used in the Vietnam War to temporarily patch the internal organs of injured soldiers until conventional surgery could be performed, cyanoacrylate based tissue adhesives are now used worldwide for a variety of sutureless surgical applications. Cyanoacrylates are commonly used topically, and have proven extremely popular as an alternative to suturing small defects, particularly in children admitted to A&E! Concerns regarding the toxicity of early compositions have restricted their widespread use as sealants for internal use, although recent formulations have received regulatory approval for specific indications.
Tissuemed acknowledges the work that Dr Coover led and the inspiration that he has provided to researchers (including our own) in development of novel solutions for todays surgical practitioners and the advancement of their techniques.