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Tissue engineering is a medical solution that uses living cells to repair or replace structural tissue, such as blood vessels, bone, cartilage, etc. Polymeric hydrogels, in both solid and liquid forms, are used as a delivery system for living cells, acting as a protective layer to contain the cells for transplantation into patients to replace diseased or damaged cells.
There are currently two types of hydrogels, solid and liquid; however, both forms of the hydrogels have mutually exclusive characteristics which limit their usage. While solid hydrogels provide a protective environment for new cells, they can result in trauma from surgical implantation. They also lack the ability to adapt and conform to the geometry and mechanical properties of the host tissue, which is required to ensure an optimal host-implant interaction. Meanwhile, injectable hydrogels are unable to retain its structural integrity after injection, making it difficult to retain the encapsulated cells.
Solution - Characteristics - Hydrogels - Research - Team
A potential solution that combines both characteristics of the hydrogels has been developed by a research team from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The SUTD researchers developed a thixogel made of 99% water and 1% of cellulose—the CNF hydrogel—which allows for its transformation from a solid hydrogel to a fluid when subjected to stress, and back to a solid hydrogel in less than a minute. It was also tested to be highly compatible with human breast cancer cells as well as mouse embryonic stem cells, signifying its applicability in tissue regeneration.
Biological cells can be loaded into the CNF hydrogel when it is in its more fluid, less...
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