The new synthetic polymer material creates an instant scaffold, sort of like stacked gumballs, that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel.
Conventionally, ointments and other hydrogel dressings have been used to fill in wounds to keep the areas moist and accelerate healing. But none of the materials used now provide a scaffold to allow new tissue to grow while the dressing itself degrades. As a result, the new tissue growth is relatively slow and fragile.
So bringing about an injectable biomaterial that promotes rapid regeneration of tissue has been a “holy grail” in the field of tissue engineering, said co-principal investigator Dino Di Carlo.
They envision the material being useful for a wide variety of wound application, including lacerations to large-area burns.
UC Berkeley researchers have also been developing new approaches to tissue engineering. Last March, their advancement in “herding cells” marked a new direction for smart bandages.
Anyone who’s ever chipped ice off a windshield or nervously watched a plane get de-iced, take note: Colorado State University researchers have invented an ice-repellent coating that out-performs today’s best de-icing products.
Researchers led by Arun Kota, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, have created an environmentally friendly, inexpensive, long-lasting coating that could keep everything from cars and ships to planes and power lines ice-free.
Their innovation, described in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, is a gel-based, soft coating made out of PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane), a silicone polymer gel with already widespread industrial use. Their experiments were supported by careful analysis of ice adhesion mechanics.
The performance measure of de-icing coatings is called ice adhesion strength - the shear stress necessary to remove ice from a surface - and is measured in kilopascals (kPa). Kota’s group demonstrated ice adhesion strength for their coating of about 5 kPa. By contrast, soft coatings available on the market have ice adhesion strength of about 40 kPa (lower is better). Other types of de-icing coatings made of rigid materials like Teflon typically perform at around 100 kPa.