New Synthetic Biomaterial Can Repair Hearts, Muscles, and Vocal Cords

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Vocal Cord Bioreactor

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A rendered picture of the singing cable bioreactor for evaluating the hydrogels. Credit: Zixin He

Scientists from McGill University establish brand-new biomaterial for injury repair work.

Combining understanding of chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering, researchers from McGill University establish a biomaterial hard sufficient to fix the heart, muscles, and singing cables, representing a significant advance in regenerative medication.

“People recovering from heart damage often face a long and tricky journey. Healing is challenging because of the constant movement tissues must withstand as the heart beats. The same is true for vocal cords. Until now there was no injectable material strong enough for the job,” states Guangyu Bao, a PhD prospect in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at McGill University.

Injectable Hydrogel

Illustration reveals making use of injectable hydrogel as an implant to fill an injury and to bring back the voice. Credit: Sepideh Mohammadi

The group, led by Professor Luc Mongeau and Assistant Professor Jianyu Li, established a brand-new injectable hydrogel for injury repair work. The hydrogel is a kind of biomaterial that supplies space for cells to live and grow. Once injected into the body, the biomaterial kinds a steady, permeable structure enabling live cells to grow or go through to fix the hurt organs.

“The results are promising, and we hope that one day the new hydrogel will be used as an implant to restore the voice of people with damaged vocal cords, for example laryngeal cancer survivors,” states Guangyu Bao.

Vocal Cord Bioreactor Testing

The circulation, imitating the blood in the body, goes through 6 centimeter-long hydrogels in the singing cable bioreactor throughout screening. Credit: Guangyu Bao

Putting it to the test

The researchers checked the resilience of their hydrogel in a maker they established to imitate the severe biomechanics of human singing cables. Vibrating at 120 times a 2nd for over 6 million cycles, the brand-new biomaterial stayed undamaged while other basic hydrogels fractured into pieces, not able to handle the tension of the load.

“We were incredibly excited to see it worked perfectly in our test. Before our work, no injectable hydrogels possessed both high porosity and toughness at the same time. To solve this issue, we introduced a pore-forming polymer to our formula,” states Guangyu Bao.

Hydrogel Testing Vocal Cord Bioreactor

The scientists checked 3 various hydrogels utilizing the singing cable bioreactor. While the brand-new hydrogel stayed steady, the 2 basic hydrogels, which represent most current injectable hydrogels, did not endure the test. Credit: Sareh Taheri

The development likewise opens brand-new opportunities for other applications like drug shipment, tissue engineering, and the development of design tissues for drug screening, the researchers state. The group is even wanting to utilize the hydrogel innovation to develop lungs to test COVID-19 drugs.

“Our work highlights the synergy of materials science, mechanical engineering, and bioengineering in creating novel biomaterials with unprecedented performance. We are looking forward to translating them into the clinic”, stated Professor Jianyu Li, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials and Musculoskeletal Health.


The singing cable bioreactor replicates the biomechanics of singing cables to check the hydrogels. Credit: Guangyu Bao

Reference: “Injectable, Pore-Forming, Perfusable Double-Network Hydrogels Resilient to Extreme Biomechanical Stimulations” by Sareh Taheri, Guangyu Bao, Zixin He, Sepideh Mohammadi, Hossein Ravanbakhsh, Larry Lessard, Jianyu Li and Luc Mongeau, 22 November 2021, Advanced Science
DOI: 10.1002/ advs.202102627



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