Synthetic collagen shows promise
Sep 15, 2011
By: Bill Gillette
Cosmetic Surgery Times E-News
Houston — Rice University researchers have developed a new
method for making synthetic collagen, ScienceDaily reports.
The material, which forms from a liquid in as little as an hour, has many of
the properties of natural collagen and may prove useful as a scaffold for
regenerating new tissues and organs from stem cells, researchers say.
ScienceDaily quotes Jeffrey Hartgerink, Ph.D., associate professor of
chemistry and bioengineering at Rice, as saying, “Our final product more closely
resembles native collagen than anything that’s previously been made, and we make
that material using a self-assembly process that is remarkably similar to
processes found in nature.”
Dr. Hartgerink said that while it’s too early to determine whether the
synthetic collagen can be substituted medically for human or animal-derived
collagen, the first signs are encouraging. The enzyme that the body uses to
break down native collagen also breaks down the new material at a similar speed.
Researchers must now determine whether cells can live and grow in the new
material and whether it performs the same way as native collagen does, Dr.
Hartgerink said, adding that any clinical trials are at least five years away.
The research appeared in the journal Nature
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