When stem cells are used to regenerate bone tissue many migrate away from the repair site. A research team led by Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Danielle Benoit, at the University of Rochester (USA), has used a technique that keeps the stem cells in place resulting in faster and better tissue regeneration. Hydrogel polymers are used which contain water to keep the stem cells alive and degrade before the body recognises them as a foreign body and attacks them.
Stem cells have the unique ability to develop into many different types of cells, they are an important part of the mechanism for repairing body tissue. Benoit believes degradable hydrogels show promise in many research areas. For example, it may be possible to initiate tissue regeneration after heart attacks without having a patient undergo difficult, invasive surgery, but a great deal of additional research is required. For more information click here.