Biomaterials

Guided growth for spinal injury repair

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Science  25 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6425, pp. 361
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6425.361-a

Aligned hydrogel tubes can help repair certain types of spinal cord injuries.

PHOTO: ZEPHYR/SCIENCE SOURCE

To repair a spinal cord injury, there is a need to regrow severed nerves while preventing the formation of scar tissue. An ideal biomaterial would conform to and temporarily fill the injury site while supporting the infusion of cells and directing axon regrowth. Dumont et al. use a two-step cross-linking process to create modular porous tubes. Hydrogel beads are initially formed into a tubular structure where the lumen of the tubes provides guidance for regrowing axons while the microspheres control the porosity of the structure to facilitate regenerative support cells. The tubes can be cut to length so that they can be packed to fill any injury shape.

Acta Biomater. 10.1016/j.actbio.2018.12.052 (2019).

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