Liquified spider silk extruded in a gel via a three-dimensional printer could soon be regenerating damaged human heart muscle and nerve cells, according to German researchers
Biomaterial experts at Germany’s Bayreuth and Würzburg universities claimed a breakthrough in cultivating living cells while holding them in place with liquified spider silk.
The research method mixed spider silk with connective fibroblast cells from mice to generate a so-called “bio ink” or gel. Fibroblasts typically begin wound repairs.
When extruded from a 3-D printer, the silk molecules quickly wrapped those cells, giving them a porous matrix in which to flourish, the team said.
‘New possibilities’ for regenerative medicine?
Lead researchers, Bayreuth’s professor Thomas Scheibel and Würzburg’s professor Jürgen Groll said the method opened “completely new possibilities” for the regeneration of heart muscles as well as skin and nerve tissues.
During the development of a new bio ink based on spider silk the research team in Bayreuth and Würzburg achieved a “decisive breakthrough,” they told the Pressetext news agency.
The gel flowed through the 3-D device’s print head onto an extrusion surface, changing rapidly from its fluid into a firm state.