The process used to make the scaffold is based on a technique called electrospinning, which produces polymer fibres down to nano-scale by applying an electric field. However, the team has developed a new method of making aligned-fibre 'mats' from the same biodegradable polymers. These promote the growth of nerves, tendons and cartilage.
Prof Tony Ryan, who leads the research at Sheffield University, said: 'Normal electrospinning leaves the fibres running in random directions. We have developed a method to control the orientation of the fibres by controlling the electric field. This is now being patented.'
Ryan said the breakthrough was as much about understanding cell behaviour as the scaffold. 'What we have shown is that cells know the order in which they need to build, so you get the same strata in the new skin as you had in your own. '
The researchers see human trials as still at least 2 years off.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2006 July 06 08:39 PM Biotech Tissue Engineering|