A Bandage Inspired By Spider Webs


Image: Spider Web via Shutterstock


There’s a new bandage that doesn’t hurt to remove, inspired by spider webs. These new easy-to-rip-off bandages aren’t just to make your life slightly more convenient. They’re going to play an important role for sick kids in hospitals.

Even the most pain-tolerant people have probably cringed once or twice while ripping an adhesive 1) ___ off a particularly sensitive area. It seems like the kind of thing that scientists should be able to prevent. Researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital think they can with a new kind of medical tape modeled on the design of spider webs.

For adults, removing medical tape is just painful. But for babies, the removal process can break open their skin, sometimes causing permanent 2) ___. “This is one of the biggest problems faced in 3) ___ units, where the patients are helpless and repeatedly wrapped in medical tapes designed for adult skin,“ explained Bryan Laulicht, one of the researchers behind the project.

The new quick-release medical tape, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, features three layers: a regular non-sticky backing, a normal skin adhesive, and a new anti-adhesive middle layer that peels apart easily when removed.

The inspiration for the idea came from nature, where this property, in which a material is much stronger along one axis than it is along another, is called anisotropy. Just as it’s easier to split a piece of wood along the grain than against it, the new medical tape requires only gentle force to break apart when you peel it, but it still sticks securely when you try to tear at it lengthwise or when you stretch it out flat. When the tape is pulled apart, it leaves behind only some soft adhesive glue-like substance, which can be rubbed off the 4) __gently with a finger. The researchers behind the tape were influenced by 5) ___ webs, which contain both adhesive and non-adhesive areas, and mica, a mineral with layers that can easily be peeled off. Despite its novelty, the tape should be easy to make with materials already used in today’s medical tape. There is no word yet on a release date.


Spider Silk and Infections


In traditional European medicine, cobwebs were used on wounds and cuts to help healing and reduce bleeding. Spider webs are rich in vitamin K, which can be effective in clotting blood. Webs were used several hundred years ago as gauze pads to stop an injured person’s bleeding. Could a cobweb bandage help soldiers and accident victims with bleeding wounds? Is a wrapping of spider 6) ___ the key to preventing the body from rejecting implants? A review of research on spider silk concludes that scientists have largely overlooked such possible medical applications of this extraordinary natural material, which is stronger than 7) ___. In a report in an issue of the ACS monthly journal Chemical Reviews, Randolph V. Lewis, of the University of Wyoming, describes other scientific research on spider silk during the last 15 years. He stated that very few studies of biological testing of spider silk have been done in a rigorous manner, and yet there is a large body of folklore concerning the antibiotic, wound-healing, and clot-inducing activity of spider silk. The scanty scientific evidence is tantalizing, Lewis notes. He cites, for instance, animal studies concluding that spider silks do not induce an 8) ___ response — which causes rejection of implants.

The lore dates to the first century CE when spider webs were prized as wound dressings. They even found a place in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream: “I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good master cobweb,“ the character “Bottom“ said. “If I cut my finger, I shall make bold of you.“

ANSWERS: 1) bandage; 2) scarring; 3) neonatal; 4) skin; 5) spider; 6) silk; 7) steel; 8) immune

Innovation at Target Health – Target e*Studio® is THE EDC Solution


Target e*CRF® has been in use in clinical trials since 1999, with 3 regulatory approvals in 2012 (grand total of 25 to date).


Software as a Service (SaaS) Version 2 of Target e*Studio was released last month and will compete directly with all of the popular EDC systems. This past week, we sat with our developers and were trained within 2 hours. A good clinical person, who knows data management, can develop (and adapt to new software) all the necessary skills to build EDC applications in less than 2 weeks and then be able to build and release an EDC application in less than a week; and yes, fully documented.


Features include full integration with our eSource software, a randomization module, a pharmacovigilance model, risk-based monitoring reports, etc. Our business model includes a modest license fee based on the number of studies performed per year, hosting and help desk support. There is a charge equivalent to 1 monitoring visit/year, when using our eSource module. We will gladly speak to any CROs providing EDC services and make it very attractive to them so they can give good prices to sponsors. Of course, this is an ideal opportunity if sponsors want to bring EDC in-house.


Target e*Studio is grand bargain in that it comes fully integrated with Target e*CTR® (eClinical Trial Record). Our estimate is that by performing less onsite monitoring when using Target e*CTR®, sponsors will save about $10,000/site/year for studies lasting a year or more. In addition there are major cost savings by being able to see data in real time. First, protocols can be modified in a timely manner and, second, when needed, studies can be terminated much earlier than when paper records are transcribed into EDC systems and source document verified.


For more information about Target Health contact Warren Pearlson at 212-681-2100 ext 104


For additional information about software tools for paperless clinical trials, please also feel free to contact Dr. Jules T. Mitchel or Ms. Joyce Hays. The Target Health software tools are designed to partner with both CROs and Sponsors. Please visit the Target Health Website.

Ancient Bandages and Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid®


500 BCE Painting on Greek Vase: Achilles tending Patroclus wounded by an arrow, identified by inscriptions on the upper part of the vase. Tondo of an Attic red-figure kylix, ca. 500 BCE From Vulci.


A bandage is a piece of material used either to support a medical device such as a dressing or splint, or on its own to provide support to the body. A bandage can also be used to restrict a part of the body. During heavy bleeding or following a poisonous bite it is important to slow the flow of blood, tight bandages accomplish this task very well. Bandages are available in a wide range of types, from generic cloth strips, to specialized shaped bandages designed for a specific limb or part of the body, although bandages can often be improvised as the situation demands, using clothing, blankets or other material.


In colloquial American English, the word “bandage“ is often used to mean a dressing, which is used directly on a wound, whereas a bandage is technically only used to support a dressing, and not directly on a wound.


In the Dark Ages, Europe’s battles raged for a thousand years, or more. Gone was the sophisticated medical treatment of the Greeks and Romans. Wounded low ranking soldiers, were left on the battlefield to die; high ranking men were treated. Animal urine was a common attempt to reduce infection rates. So too was sealing the wound with a brand, thus cauterizing the wound and reducing external chances of infection. Bandages were rarely used.


In Medieval Europe, disease and poor health were part of daily life and medicines were both basic and often useless. Towns and cities were filthy and knowledge of hygiene was non-existent. The Black Death killed millions of the population of Europe. In 1349, Edward III complained to the Lord Mayor of London that the streets of the city were filthy: “Cause the human faeces and other filth lying in the streets and lanes in the city to be removed with all speed to places far distant, so that no greater cause of mortality may arise from such smells.“

No one knew what caused diseases then; there was no knowledge of germs. The Church taught that any illness was a punishment from God for sinful behavior. Operations were carried out by ?surgeons’, who were unskilled and had other jobs such as butchers and barbers. The traditional red and white pole outside of a barber’s shop today is a throwback to the days in Medieval Europe, when barbers did operations. The red stood for blood and the white for the bandages used at the end of an operation.


During the Renaissance, the Act of Supremacy, which set up King of England, Henry VIII as head of the English church, and in which he broke from the Catholic Church, was enacted in 1534. With this Act, the power of the Church became greatly lessened in Europe. Renaissance French army doctor, Ambroise Pare, born in 1510, revived the ancient Greek method of tying off blood vessels. After amputation the common procedure was to cauterize the open end of the amputated appendage to stop the hemorrhaging. This was done by heating oil, water, or metal and touching it to the wound to seal off the blood vessels. Pare also believed in dressing wounds with clean bandages and ointments, including one he made himself composed of eggs, oil of roses, and turpentine.


Civil War image of bandaged leg with splint


During the Civil War, all over America, women gathered together to make bandages for the soldiers. Their table linens, bed sheets, clothing and even draperies served as coverings for wounds. Newspapers frequently printed directions.


The April 27, 1861 issue of the Flushing Journal“ of Long Island, New York, published the following:

“Bandages may be made from soft, pliable unglazed muslin. Unglazed muslin is unbleached muslin of medium quality is as good as the more expensive bleached material. If bandages are made by sewing together firm old muslin the seams should be flat. The following table exhibits the length, breadth, and proportion in which bandages should be prepared:

1st Length, 6 yds. Breadth 4 in. Prop. 2-10
2d Length, 6 yds. Breadth 3 in. Prop. 3-10
3d Length, 6 yds. Breadth 2 1/2 Prop. 4-10
4th Length, 1 1/2 Breadth 1 Prop. 1-10


These should be evenly rolled, into compact cylinders, the free end securely fastened with two pins, and upon it the length distinctly marked. The rollers should then be made into packages of convenient size, by turning the free end of one roller around the remainder.“



At the turn of the next century, Earle Dickson invented of one of the world’s most useful devices for the accident-prone: the Band-Aid® brand adhesive bandage. In 1917, Dickson married Josephine Frances Knight. He quickly realized that his new bride seemed to constantly be nicking her fingers while working in the kitchen, and he thought the big bandages he was using to help her treat them were too big and clumsy. He decided to affix small pieces of the sterile gauze to the center of strips of surgical tape. Dickson folded the gauze into a narrow pad, unrolled the tape, laid the gauze over it, and put down a band of crinoline to keep the tape from sticking to itself. He then rerolled the tape so that his wife could unwind and scissor off what she needed. At the time, Dickson happened to be working for Johnson & Johnson as a cotton buyer in New Brunswick, New Jersey. When Dickson mentioned what he had created to a fellow employee there he was encouraged to approach management with the idea. The Johnsons weren’t overly impressed initially, but then Dickson showed them that he could easily apply his bandage to himself: this, they thought, was a great feature.

Johnson & Johnson was already a popular manufacturer of large cotton and gauze bandages for hospitals and soldiers when Dickson offered up his Band-Aid® solution. Unfortunately, the original handmade bandages did not sell well – only $3,000 worth of the product was sold during their first year. This may have been because the first versions of the bandages came in sections 2 1/2 inches wide and 18 inches long. Sales were poor until the company distributed an unlimited number of free Band-Aids® to Boy Scout troops across the country, sparking widespread use. By 1924 Johnson & Johnson was producing different sizes of Band-Aids® by machine. The bandages were completely sterilized in 1939, and spun out in sheer vinyl in 1958. Over one hundred billion have been made to date. Johnson & Johnson eventually made Dickson a vice president at the company, a position in which he remained until his retirement in 1957. He was also a member of the board of directors until his death in 1961. At the time of his death, Johnson & Johnson was selling over $30,000,000 worth of Band-Aids® each year.


First commercial “Band-Aids“

Anti-Smoking Medication Shows Promise For Treating Alcohol Dependence



Alcohol dependence is a chronic disease that includes symptoms such as craving, loss of control over drinking, withdrawal symptoms after stopping drinking, and tolerance, the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel the same effect.

According to an article published online in the Journal of Addiction Medicine (30 May 2013), it was reported that a smoking-cessation medication may be a viable option for the treatment of alcohol dependence. The study found that varenicline (marketed under the name Chantix; Pfizer), approved in 2006 to help people stop smoking, significantly reduced alcohol consumption and craving among people who are alcohol-dependent.


Early studies testing varenicline as a smoking cessation medication suggested it might also be effective for treating alcohol problems. Varenicline works by partially stimulating receptors for nicotinic acetylcholine, a promising molecular target implicated in both nicotine and alcohol disorders. This hypothesis was supported by early animal studies which showed that varenicline decreases alcohol consumption.

The study randomized 200 alcohol-dependent adults to receive varenicline or placebo each day for 13 weeks. Inclusion criteria required that study participants report drinking an average of at least 28 drinks per week for females or 35 drinks per week for males prior to the study, with women and men drinking at least four and five drinks, respectively, on most days. Results showed that compared with placebo, varenicline significantly reduced measures of alcohol use. For example, the percentage of heavy drinking days per week decreased nearly 22% in the varenicline group.


The study noted that varenicline’s effects were comparable to those seen in studies of naltrexone and acamprosate, two of the medications already approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol dependence. The average treatment effect on alcohol use was similar for smokers and nonsmokers. Alcohol craving also was significantly reduced in people treated with varenicline.

The authors noted that varenicline was well-tolerated by study participants. The most common side-effects of varenicline were nausea, abnormal dreams, and constipation, and those effects generally were mild. The authors concluded that longer treatment with varenicline and follow-up assessments to determine if there are sustained effects would be a valuable next step in the development of this medication for alcohol problems.

Second Genome Announces Agreement with Janssen on Microbiome Drug Discovery in Ulcerative Colitis


As a followup to last week’s features on the microbiome, we were very pleased to see a press release from Second Genome on Microbiome Drug Discovery in Ulcerative Colitis.

The human microbiome is the population of more than 100 trillion microorganisms that live in our gut, mouth, skin and elsewhere in and on the body. These microbial communities play critical roles in supporting life and health. They are needed to digest food, to prevent disease-causing bacteria from invading the body, and to synthesize essential nutrients and vitamins. Pioneering a path for translating microbiome discoveries into novel therapeutics, Second Genome has developed a proprietary approach for generating therapeutic candidates that modulate microbe-microbe and microbe-human interactions that contribute to health and disease.

“A breakdown in the normal relationship between the human immune system and the bacterial communities that reside in the gut appears to play an important role in development of the hallmark chronic inflammation of ulcerative colitis,“ said Dr. Susan Lynch, scientific advisor to Second Genome and Director of the Colitis and Crohn’s Disease Microbiome Research Core and Associate Professor, Gastroenterology at University of California, San Francisco. “Second Genome has a powerful platform to mine the microbiome for potential targets which have the potential to translate into effective therapeutics that dramatically impact patient health.“

Second Genome, Inc. announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) focused on microbiome drug discovery. With the goal of advancing novel drug targets, the agreement is focused on therapeutic mechanisms in ulcerative colitis mediated by the bacterial ecosystem living within the human gut, referred to as the microbiome. Second Genome will apply its microbiome modulation discovery platform to characterize the role of bacterial populations in ulcerative colitis.

Second Genome brings microbiome science to the discovery and development of therapeutic products. The company has established a pipeline of microbiome modulators that impact infection, inflammation, and metabolic diseases. Second Genome’s development pipeline is fueled by novel technologies for identifying, screening and scientifically validating therapeutic candidates.

TARGET HEALTH excels in Regulatory Affairs. Each week we highlight new information in this challenging area.


FDA Clears First Blood Tracking Device That Uses RFID Technology


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a tool widely used for identification and tracking of various objects. In a typical RFID system, a small memory-storage chip is placed on the item being tracked. RFID readers send and receive radio waves to detect chips and read their data.

iTrace for Blood Centers, (Version 1.0.924.0), the first application to use (RFID) technology in blood establishments to assist in enhancing blood safety by preventing the release of unsuitable blood components. The iTrace RFID application is designed to augment existing blood bank systems and to work in conjunction with barcode identification and labeling processes currently in place..

iTrace for Blood Centers interfaces through a server with blood establishment computer software to receive and store data used by blood establishments during the manufacturing process, including information related to collection; component processing and labeling, including verifying the product code; expiration date; and blood type (ABO/Rh) information.

The device was cleared for marketing based on the submission of a premarket notification, often referred to as a 510(k). A 510(k) submission made to the FDA demonstrates that the device is at least as safe and effective as, that is, substantially equivalent to, a legally marketed device that is not subject to a premarket application.


iTrace for Blood Centers is manufactured by SysLogic, Inc., based in Brookfield, Wis.

Asparagus Salad with White Beans, Pine Nuts, Parmesan & Herbs with Olive oil-Lemon Dressing



  • 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans
  • Pinch Salt (optional)
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, locally grown, if possible
  • 1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pinch black pepper (or grind to your taste)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan



1. Open the Great Northern canned beans, drain, rinse well, then dry on paper towel

2. Break off tough ends of the asparagus. Prepare a bowl of cold water and ice cubes.

3. Steam the asparagus for one minute or until al dente and a beautiful shade of green

4. Plunge asparagus into the ice water and let sit for 5 minutes, then drain. Pat dry and slice diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces.

5. In a food processor, combine tarragon, lemon zest, garlic, pinch (optional) salt, black pepper and lemon juice, and pulse until garlic is well chopped. Next, pour in the olive oil and pulse until the mixture is well blended and bright green, about 1 minute.

6. Give one spray of olive oil to a pan and toast the pine nuts. Over a medium flame, constantly stir the nuts (so they don’t burn) for about 1 or 1.5 minutes, until golden. Remove and put on paper towel.

7. In a large mixing bowl, gently toss together beans, asparagus, cilantro, toasted pine nuts, parmesan and the dressing. Taste and add more lemon juice and seasoning, if needed.

8. Serve and pass extra parmesan, if desired.



Variation: As it is, this salad could be a summer main course. However, if you wanted to add your favorite pasta, that would work well. Use orzo or cavatappi (see below), spatzle, Israeli couscous (Ptitim), farfalline (small version of bow-tie farfalle pasta) or another small size pasta, so you don’t get too much starch in the salad. If you wanted a slightly sweet flavor, you could add 1 cup of golden raisins, or later in the summer, some cut up fresh figs (in season late August thru September).


Cavatappi pasta is a small spiral shape


This is a delicious salad, with its myriad flavors. The grassy “just picked“ asparagus, the fresh lemon and herbs are so a refreshing to the palate. I had great fun making it, first adding pine nuts, then the tarragon, then tasting, then adding cilantro, tasting, then adding parmesan, etc. etc. etc. It would be a hit at any summer table, for lunch, dinner or barbecue. Also, all the flavors would work with chicken or fish.

I rushed to do this salad, because I wanted my dear “guinea pig“ husband to try-it-out before he left for the Middle East on business and we both liked it enough to post it in the newsletter. It passed with flying colors!

We had it as a main course because he wanted a light meal before taking off. Chilled Italian Orvieto paired well with this salad and warm crispy crusted Italian bread dipped in especially fine olive oil and fresh fruit for dessert. Mmmm


A view of Orvieto, built on a limestone promontory surrounded by vineyards


Italian hill-town, Orvieto, seems to have been designed for civilized living. Its lofty position and impregnable cliff walls were chosen for security at a time, in the Middle Ages, when the area between Rome and Florence was prey to warring clans looking to extend their territories. But within its gates, this castle-city could turn its mind to culture and civic embellishment. This Etruscan-built urbane city is so ancient, that even the Romans called it Urbs Vecchio, “the old city.“

Now it’s called Orvieto, and so is the wine made in the surrounding Umbrian countryside. And like the region, Orvieto wine goes back a long way, all the way to the pre-Roman Etruscans. Orvieto was once the most celebrated of Italian whites as a semisweet or abboccato wine, praised by the popes, princes and painters who sojourned in the hill town north of Rome with its splendid Cathedral and sweeping views.



Target Health (www.targethealth.com) a full service e*CRO, is committed to serve the pharmaceutical community through knowledge, experience, technology and connectivity. Target Health strives to optimize the life cycle of drugs, biologics and devices with expertise, leadership, innovation and teamwork. Target Health Inc. has fulltime staff dedicated to all aspects of Regulatory Affairs, Clinical Research, Biostatistics, Data Management, Strategic Planning and Drug and Device Development. Target Health is committed to the paperless clinical trial and has developed a full suite of eClinical Trial software including:

1) Target e*CRF® (EDC Made Simple)

2) Target e*CTMS™

3) Target Document®

4) Target Encoder®

5) Target e*Pharmacovigilance™

6) Target e*Monitoring™

7) Target Newsletter®

8) Target e*CTR™ (eSource, electronic medical record for clinical trials).

Target Health’s Pharmaceutical Advisory Dream Team assists companies in strategic planning from Discovery to Market Launch. Let us help you on your next project.


261 Madison Avenue
24th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 681-2100; Fax (212) 681-2105

Ms Joyce Hays, CEO
Dr. Jules T. Mitchel, President

©2013 Target Health Inc. All rights reserved