Combining knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology and engineering, scientists from McGill University develop a new biomaterial tough enough to repair different body tissues, including heart, muscle and vocal cords.
Injectable hydrogels can be delivered via needle–syringe injection into the human body with low invasiveness. They have found significant use in many branches of medicine, including drug/cell delivery, tissue engineering, biofabrication, organs on chips, and disease modeling. Despite extensive efforts in the field, there still remain challenges concerning the mass transport and mechanical properties of injectable hydrogels.
The study led by Professor Luc Mongeau and Assistant Professor Jianyu Li, developed a new injectable hydrogel for wound repair. It provides room for cells to live and grow. Once injected the biomaterial has the ability to form a stable and porous structure allowing live cells to grow or pass through to repair the injured organs.
The researchers tested the hydrogel integrity under prolonged, high frequency biomechanical stimulations (>6 million cycles at 120 Hz) and had good results that suggest the great potential of the new injectable hydrogel technology for repairing mechanically dynamic tissues, such as vocal folds.
The researchers hope that one day their product could be used to restore the voice of people with damaged vocal cords, like laryngeal cancer survivors.
This is the first type of hydrogel that is able to have a high porosity and toughness at the same time. They also hope that it could be used for other applications, such as tissue engineering, biofabrication, drug delivery and disease modeling.
McGill University. “Synthetic tissue can repair hearts, muscles, and vocal cords.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2021.
Sareh Taheri, Guangyu Bao, Zixin He, Sepideh Mohammadi, Hossein Ravanbakhsh, Larry Lessard, Jianyu Li, Luc Mongeau. Injectable, Pore‐Forming, Perfusable Double‐Network Hydrogels Resilient to Extreme Biomechanical Stimulations. Advanced Science, 2021; 2102627 DOI: 10.1002/advs.202102627