Newswise — Researchers are developing scaffoldlike materials designed to be injected into the body where they will quickly solidify to fit any space, repairing damaged bones, spinal cords, arteries and other tissues.
Because the material starts out as a liquid, it fills in the gaps between damaged or missing tissue before hardening into a gel, or “three-dimensional matrix” that eventually disintegrates as it is replaced by healthy tissue, said Alyssa Panitch, an associate professor in Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.
This gel could be loaded with time-released therapeutic drugs, such as “growth factors” needed to enhance healing. The approach also could be used to improve “drug-eluting stents,” which are metal scaffolds inserted into arteries to keep them open after surgeries to treat clogs. Once in place, the stents release therapeutic agents, but scientists have recently learned that the stents can cause new clogs, leading to heart attacks. Continue Reading »