According to a recent Science Daily article, the field of regenerative medicine is about to take a giant leap forward. A team of chemists, physicists, biologists, and engineers at Montreal’s McGill University have created a synthetic material capable of repairing the heart, muscles, and even vocal cords. Part of the challenge with a healing heart is that it is in constant motion, and until now no injectable materials have been strong enough to hold up.
The new biomaterial is a hydrogel that provides room for cells to live and grow. Once injected into the body, it forms a stable, porous structure that lets live cells penetrate to reach injured organs. The team tested its durability in a machine that mimics the biomechanics of human vocal cords, vibrating 120 times a second for 6 million cycles. While other hydrogels broke into pieces, McGill’s remained intact. The technology could have an application in drug delivery, tissue engineering and drug screening. The team is now working on synthetic lungs to test COVID-19 drugs.