Mcgill University Scientists Developed a Hydrogel That Can Repair Damaged Hearts and Vocal Cords

In recent years, regenerative medicine, a branch of medicine, has been the focus of research to find potential solutions for developing methods to repair or replace diseased cells, tissues, or organs in the body.

Heart Failure

Heart Failure

Regenerative medicine uses different methods to aid recovery in damaged tissues and organs. Some of these are stem cell treatments, platelet-rich plasma, prolotherapy, and cartilage regeneration. These methods can be used to repair damaged tissues in various conditions including musculoskeletal conditions(involving cartilage damage), immune system disorders, cardiovascular tissue repair, skin wounds, and brain tissue repair.

Read Also: New Discovery Could Help Regenerate Scar Free Skin After Severe Burns

Recently, synthetic tissue was grown through a combined effort of many scientists at McGill University by utilizing knowledge from various fields like = chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering.

Scientists grew an injective hydrogel that can be useful in repairing various kinds of wounds. This hydrogel is a kind of biomaterial that allows cells to live and grow and it forms a porous structure in tissues that allows living cells to move through the porous material and aid in the recovery of the diseased organs.

Testing the durability

Scientists put the hydrogel in a machine that provided a simulated environment. This environment was simulated in such a way that it provided similar biomechanical conditions to that of human vocal cords. This particular test was designed to learn about the durability property of the developed biomaterial.

This biomaterial remained intact after the scientist vibrated the hydrogel over 6 million times at a rate of 120 times per second. The other materials used by the scientists did not withstand this stress and fragmented into pieces.

Read Also: Researchers Use Stem Cells’ Secretions to Treat Wounds Infected By Resistant Bacteria

According to one of the scientists involved in this development, there was no injectable material available previously that possessed similar properties of durability and porosity at the same time and they were delighted that this hydrogel worked perfectly in their test.

Significance

Scientists believe that this developed hydrogel can be useful for people who have damaged vocal cords due to various conditions like laryngeal cancer and people who are facing difficult recovery after heart damage. As these tissues are in constant motion, the recovery is usually a long and difficult process. Considering this, biomaterials are needed that can be injected into these tissues and initiate the repair process by regenerating the tissues. And due to the durability requirements in these tissues, this hydrogel can open doors for potential treatment processes as this material possesses the required properties. As there was no injectable material available before this, this advancement may become very useful.

Future direction

Considering the optimistic results of their test, the scientists plan to use this technology to develop synthetic lung tissue consisting of this hydrogel material. They are hopeful that this can be used for drug testing of COVID-19.

Read Also: Heart Muscles Made From Stem Cells Could Replace Some Heart Transplants

They also plan to translate these developments in clinical fields by utilizing them to treat various conditions.

This development can be very useful in opening new doors for many applications like delivering drugs to the tissues, creating new models to test different drugs, and engineering tissues to aid recovery in damaged tissues in various conditions.

This is a major development in the field of regenerative medicine. This tissue is highly porous and can withstand biomechanical requirements of tissues like the heart and vocal cords as these tissues are in constant movement. This can facilitate recovery in people who have heart damage due to Myocardial infarction and vocal cord damage due to laryngeal cancer.

This paper was published by a group of scientists at McGill University, Montreal. Professor Luc Mongeau and Assistant Professor Jianyu Li led this group of scientists.

Read Also: UCLA Researchers Show How Respiratory Stem Cells Regenerate

References

Injectable, Pore-Forming, Perfusable Double-Network Hydrogels Resilient to Extreme Biomechanical Simulations, Wiley Online Library, Accessed December 3, 2021. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/advs.202102627

Regenerative medicine: Current therapies and future directions, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Accessed December 3, 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4664309/

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