Researchers at iNANO at Aarhus University are testing a type of “scaffolding” made from biodegradable nanofibers that takes over for structures in the body that hold cells together and support body tissue.
“So far we’ve tested it on mice and rats. But there’s still some way to go before we can use this scaffolding on humans,” says Menglin Chen, assistant professor and group leader, in a ScienceNordic article.
Researchers produced the fibers using a hydrogel and signal molecules that help cells to turn specific genes, on and off. This allowed them to direct the stem cells to develop into the desired tissue.
“We have made the stem cells from ordinary skin cells. Then we have made the stem cells stick to the scaffolding and form new fibroblastic connective tissue. So far, we have gotten it to work in mice and rats, so it does not say a lot about how it will work in humans. The next step is to test it out on larger animals such as pigs and sheep,” explains Chen.
The scaffolding could lead to new treatments for torn or weakened tissues.