When you cut yourself, your body rushes to grow new skin over the wound. And a similar thing happens when internal injuries occur: an influx of new cells develop, with the guidance of a microscopic scaffolding system called the extracellular matrix, which fills the space between cells. However, this matrix can’t help when the injury is in the brain, like a stroke. Researchers add substances to act as artificial replacements for the matrix, but cells often have trouble keeping hold of these, and new structures tend to be leaky and flimsy. But a new injectable gel can help support more stable blood vessels, such as those pictured forming around a stroke site 10 days after treatment. It’s equipped with a substance that binds to integrin – the molecule that generally joins cells to the extracellular matrix. With this helping hand to hold, brain repair following stroke may be within our reach.
Written by Anthony Lewis
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