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Liquid Bridge?

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  • Liquid Bridge?

    There is a very short article in yesterday's (29/1/04) Guardian which describes a way of building scaffolding bridges in the spinal cord without the need for anything more invasive than an injection:

    "Samuell Stupp and colleagues from Northwestern University, Chicago have found a way to build a brifge out of a liquid........injected into a damaged rodent spinal cord, it turns into a gel like solid......the scaffold is designed to disintegrate after four to six weeks, hopefully leaving healthy spinal cord behind.....The molecules(of the liquid) are designed to aggregate in a particular way, forming a mass of hollow, tiny tubes about five nanometres wide. The structure is porous allowing neerve cells to grow through and around it."

    The article is very brief (merely a filler in on a science page in one of the paper's supplements), it describes no more detail than I have highlighted above. Does anybody know any more about this work?

  • #2
    Posted on Fri, Jan. 23, 2004

    New stem-cell gel advances spinal injury research
    Chicago Tribune

    CHICAGO - (KRT) - In a study that could lead to new treatments for spinal cord injury, Northwestern University researchers have coaxed neural stem cells to grow in a specially engineered gel that could be injected directly to a site of spinal damage.

    Experts said the unique gel has many potential applications in a new field of research that combines stem-cell research and tissue engineering. The possibilities include treatment of brain disease or delivering insulin to diabetes patients.

    For now the technique is still being tested in mice, said the scientists, who published their results in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

    Central to the effort is a self-assembling gel developed by Northwestern nanotechnology researcher Samuel Stupp. The material is a soapy-looking solution that, when it comes in contact with living cells, becomes a gel with tiny fibers that can guide the growth of neurons or other types of tissue.

    "It could change the way this field of tissue engineering is practiced," said Stupp, a professor in Northwestern's departments of materials science, chemistry and medicine.

    The new study is also the first major step in a personal research mission for Dr. Jack Kessler, a Northwestern neurologist who began work on spinal cord injuries in 2001 after his daughter Allison was paralyzed in a skiing accident.

    Kessler's lab is one of many searching for ways to regenerate damaged or diseased tissue using stem cells, which have the capacity to grow into many types of tissue in virtually unlimited quantities.

    A major challenge is discovering how to use such versatile cells, since experts believe simply injecting them into sick patients is unlikely to work. Stem-cell researcher Dr. Evan Snyder said the Northwestern team is part of a growing effort by scientists to find practical ways of harnessing the immense potential of stem cells.

    "Complex diseases need multidisciplinary approaches," said Snyder, director of the stem-cell program at the Burnham Institute in California.


    • #3
      This is excellent news. But the only problem is it still 10 years away before they do clinical trials in humans.

      What one man can do another can do
      A good friend is someone who will come to bail you out of jail. A TRUE friend is the guy sitting next to you behind the same set of bars saying, "boy we sure f*cked up this time huh?"


      • #4
        Hi Adrian and others,

        The original thread on this topic is here. Please post additional responses there.

        Thank you.