Using implants made from porous biocompatible materials, scientists have recently been successful in regrowing things such as teeth, tendons and heart tissue, plus bone and cartilage.
The materials act as a sort of nanoscale three-dimensional scaffolding, to which lab-cultivated cells can be added, or that the recipient’s own cells can colonize. Now, a Spanish research team has used the same principle to grow new brain tissue – the technique could ultimately be used to treat victims of brain injuries or strokes.
The implants they designed were made from a synthetic material known as acrylate copolymer. As with the implants mentioned earlier, it is biocompatible and has a porous structure.
They implanted samples of the copolymer within two areas of the brains of live rats – the cerebral cortex and the subventricular zone. After two months, new blood vessels had grown into the implants, plus the material had been colonized by the rats’ neural progenitor cells (similar to stem cells, in that they can become a certain type of cell).
Ordinarily, the regeneration of adult brain tissue is limited, due to the fact that new blood vessels tend not to grow into damaged tissue.
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via Gizmag – Ben Coxworth
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