Growing organs and helping wounds heal

A stretchy new fabric made by linking together the proteins found in muscle tissue could provide a scaffold for growing new organs. It could also be used as a coating for bandages to help wounds heal quickly and with less scarring. The fabric was made in the laboratory of Kevin Kit Parker, a professor at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Parker's team has created a method for 'sewing' nanofabrics to build scaffods to heal and even grow organs. The material could also be used much like a bandage. (Image from Nifty, Uploaded on March 21, 2009.)
When the body grows new tissue, cells secrete fibronectin-a strong, stretchy type of protein that acts as a supportive scaffold. The shape and structure that fibronectin adopts directs the subsequent growth of new cells, giving the resulting tissue the correct form.

Parker's team creates the fabric by depositing fibronectin molecules on top of a water-repelling polymer surface. This causes the proteins, which are normally bundled up, to unravel. Next, the protein layer is stamped onto a dissolvable, water-attracting polymer sheet on top of a piece of glass. Adding water and warming the mixture to room temperature makes the proteins link together to form the fabric. It also dissolves the polymer so that the fabric can be peeled away and collected

Read full article in Technology Review

Source: Harvard University