Researchers at the Hohenstein Institute in Stuttgart, Germany developed a method to embed multipotent mesenchymal stem cells onto the surface fibers of common surgical fabric implants. Using such a product it may be possible to directly motivate the regrowth of critical tissue, such as myocardium after a heart attack.
A molecular layer of natural biomaterials from the human extra-cellular matrix has been developed for this purpose. Cell colonies derived from the body cells of the patient allow the tiny “all-rounders” to be placed directly at the site of damaged tissue. New cardiac muscle cells, for example, can be generated by introducing certain factors. These can then be used to replace parts of the heart that have been destroyed during a heart attack.
Colonising stem cells on textiles opens up far-reaching therapeutic possibilities for regenerative medicine. Textile implants are frequently used during surgery requiring the stabilisation of injured tissue. There are, for example, heart patches made of biomaterial that can be applied to damaged cardiac tissues. After a certain time, the implanted biodegradable foreign objects are dissolved by the patient’s body.
The scientists are also currently working on a technique for colour-marking the stem cells in order to make it possible to identify them even after differentiation into heart, cartilage or bone tissue, as well as ease following the post-implantation progress of colonised textiles.
Image: Bioresorbable textile fibres that have been colonised with cells as seen in a fluorescent microscope: the nuclei of the stem cells appear in blue, while the cytoskeleton has been marked in red.
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