Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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In a Spin
11 May 2014

In a Spin

Our bodies aren’t the friendliest of places. An army of suspicious cells keeps constant patrol, sniffing out any newcomers and keeping us infection-free. However, they can cause problems when doctors try to introduce potentially life-saving biomaterials. For example, to repair hernias that can develop after surgery, one tactic is to implant a supporting mesh for cells to grow on, repairing the damage. But this structure must play nice with the body’s ever-aware defenders. One solution might come from a technique called electrospinning. Strands of material 100 times thinner than a human hair are drawn out of a liquid broth via an electrified needle. These fibres form a nanomesh (pictured) that can be made out of a wide range of substances and contain anything from drugs to cells. Other applications for electrospinning range from contraception to organ transplants, and although there’s still some fine-tuning needed, the potential is electrifying.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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