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
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.