Researchers develop artificial tissue that mimics real ones

May 16th, 2009 - 12:22 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 16 (IANS) Researchers have developed a unique, highly porous, sponge-like material whose properties mimic those of biological soft tissues.
Australian and Korean researchers, led by Goeffrey M. Spinks, used DNA strands as a matrix, which completely ‘wrapped’ carbon nanotubes in the presence of an ionic liquid, networking them to form a gel.

This gel can be spun: just as silk and synthetic fibres can be wet-spun for textiles. The gel can be made into very fine threads when injected into a special bath.

These spongy fibres resemble collagen fibre networks of the biological extracellular matrix. They can also be knotted, braided, or woven into textile-like structures.

This results in materials that are as elastic as the softest natural tissues while simultaneously deriving great strength from the robust DNA links.

Soft tissues like tendons, muscles, arteries and skin or other organs, obtain their

mechanical support from a network of protein-based nanofibres, said a release of Angewandte Chemie.

Because many biological tissues are regularly subjected to intense mechanical loads, it is also important that the implant material have comparable elasticity in order to avoid inflammation.

At the same time, the material must be very strong and resilient, or it may give out. Artificial tissue, soft and tough like biological tissue, can be used in implants.

These findings were published in Angewandte Chemie.

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