Synthetic fabrics can repair hearts, muscles and vocal cords – sciencedaily


By combining their knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology and engineering, scientists at McGill University are developing a biomaterial strong enough to repair the heart, muscles and vocal cords, which represents a major breakthrough in regenerative medicine.

“People recovering from heart injuries often face a long and difficult journey. Healing is difficult because of the constant movements that the tissues have to endure as the heart beats. The same goes for the vocal cords. Says Guangyu Bao, a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at McGill University.

The team, led by Professor Luc Mongeau and Assistant Professor Jianyu Li, developed a new injectable hydrogel for wound repair. Hydrogel is a type of biomaterial that allows cells to live and develop. Once injected into the body, the biomaterial forms a stable, porous structure that allows living cells to grow or pass through to repair damaged organs.

“The results are promising and we hope that one day the new hydrogel will be used as an implant to restore the voice of people with damaged vocal cords, for example laryngeal cancer survivors,” says Guangyu Bao.

Put it to the test

Scientists tested the durability of their hydrogel in a machine they developed to simulate the extreme biomechanics of human vocal cords. Vibrating at 120 times per second for over 6 million cycles, the new biomaterial remained intact while other standard hydrogels shattered into pieces, unable to withstand the stress of the load.

“We were incredibly excited to see that it worked perfectly in our test. Prior to our work, no injectable hydrogel had both high porosity and toughness. To solve this problem, we have introduced a pore-forming polymer into our formula, ”says Guangyu Bao.

The innovation also opens up new avenues for other applications such as drug delivery, tissue engineering and the creation of model tissues for drug screening, the scientists say. The team is even looking to use hydrogel technology to create lungs to test for COVID-19 drugs.

“Our work highlights the synergy of materials science, mechanical engineering and bioengineering in the creation of new biomaterials with unprecedented performance. We look forward to translating them into the clinic, ”said Professor Jianyu Li, Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials and Musculoskeletal Health. .

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Materials provided by mcgill university. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.


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