Jun 162010

Fibroblasts growing on Dr. Brian Amsden's polymer fiber

A Canadian researcher is hoping that within ten years, people will be able to regrow tendons, spinal cords or heart valves lost to injury or disease.

Dr. Brian Amsden, a chemical engineering professor from Queen’s University, is developing a technique wherein cells from a patient’s body would be placed on a polymer prosthetic that stimulates cell growth. After the cells had established themselves sufficiently, the prosthetic would be implanted in the patient’s body. The polymer would then biodegrade, leaving behind nothing but the patient’s own tissue.

Not unlike Dr. Jeremy Mao’s system for growing teeth, Dr. Amsden’s system involves seeding cells onto a three-dimensional scaffold that mimics the structure of the desired part. In Amsden’s case, that structure is made up of spun polymer nanofibers, each one with a diameter smaller than that of a single cell.

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