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VWN News: Self-assembling Nanofibres Heal Spinal Cords
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 Self-assembling Nanofibres Heal Spinal Cords

This story is from the category The Brain
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Date posted: 10/04/2008

An engineered material that can be injected into damaged spinal cords could help prevent scars and encourage damaged nerve fibres to grow.

The liquid material, developed by North-western University materials science professor Samuel Stupp, contains molecules that self-assemble into nanofibres, which act as a scaffold on which nerve fibres grow.

One of the researchers behind the new scaffold material, John Kessler, professor of stem cell biology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, said. "It is like cutting a telephone cable," Kessler says. "We're thinking of regrowing the nerve fibres and rewiring the cut."

The new material is different because the researchers can inject it as a liquid directly into the spinal cord. Negatively charged molecules in the liquid start clumping together when they come in contact with positively charged particles such as calcium and sodium ions in the body. The molecules self-assemble into hollow, cylindrical nanofibres, which form a scaffold that can trap cells. On the surface of the nanofibres are biological molecules that inhibit scars and encourage nerve fibres to grow.

See the full Story via external site: www.technologyreview.com



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