Stem cell technology: Engineered “hydrogels” increased healing rate of any eye damage and brain tissue injury

There’s a way of reversing of blindness, at least in mice, using engineered “hydrogels”. This was successfully demonstrated by researchers at the University of Toronto. The gels have the capacity of increasing the healing time of any eye damage and is found to do the same with the brain tissues, according to U of T Engineering News.

The study which was published in Stem Cell Reports earlier this week, was led by by University of Toronto professors Molly Shoichet, Derek van der Kooy, and Cindi Morshead.

What the team did was to encapsulate the stem cells using  hydrogels that helped speed up the healing ability of for injuries sustained in both the brain and the eyes.  The team has high hopes that their discovery will lead to new therapies for nerve damage brought about by injury or illness.

A hydrogel functions the same way like a bubble wrap. It preserves the cell during transportation while they are attached to the sites where nerve damage occurred.

Whole stem cells have a faster and better healing ability when they reach the injured tissues in perfect condition.

The hydrogel casings were developed by Dr. Shoichet and the team themselves many years before.  This is a continuing study of another one that they did before, demonstrating how hydrogels can help preserve the stem cells and their synthesis aside from keeping them intact during transfers.

Doctors are confident with regards to the wide application of stem cells for variety treatments. They can transform themselves easily into any kind of body tissues and may in the future be developed as a source of much needed body organs.

By using only Petri dishes, doctors will have an easy time in growing stem cells but the difficulty lies during their integration into the patient’s body.


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