15 May 2015
A team have developed a new gel-like biomaterial that is able to keep cells alive and help them better integrate into tissue.
According to two initial trials, this could potentially reverse blindness and help the brain better recover from stroke. It is part of a wider research drive that is trying to devise new ways of repairing nerve damage caused by a disease or injury.
The team, led by professors Molly Shoichet and Derek van der Kooy from the University of Toronto, covered stem cells in a "hydrogel" that boosted their healing abilities when transplanted into both the eye and the brain.
Published in Stem Cell Reports, the research holds great therapeutic promise as it demonstrates a way of transplanting stem cells successfully.
Stem cells are the focus of many studies as they can become any cell type in the body, meaning they have great regeneration potential. However, they often have trouble thriving in their new environment.
This study shows that hydrogels can do more than just hold stem cells together; they can directly promote stem cell survival and integration.
Posted by Phillip Briggs
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Image Credit: Jupiter