After its injection into the body, the biomaterial forms a stable and porous structure in which
living cells can grow and circulate to repair damaged organs, notes a press release published by the Quebec institution.
The biomaterial was developed by researchers Luc Mongeau and Jianyu Li and their teams.
Recovery after a heart injury is often long and difficult. The incessant movement of the tissues, which move to the rhythm of the heartbeat, complicates healing. The same problem arises in the vocal cords. Previously, no injectable material was strong enough for this type of work, says Guangyu Bao, a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
We hope that one day we can use this new hydrogel as an implant to restore the voice of people whose vocal cords have been damaged, for example as a result of laryngeal cancer.
Test to the test
The durability of the hydrogel has been tested under extreme conditions. Researchers have developed a device that mimics the biomechanical conditions present in the vocal cords of a human. The biomaterial was thus subjected to 120 vibrations per second for more than 6 million cycles.
It remained intact, while
ordinary hydrogels disintegrated, unable to withstand such stress, notes the press release.
Before our work, there was no injectable hydrogel which combined high porosity and resistance, rejoices Guangyu Bao.
The secret to this success would lie in the addition of a polymer, which creates pores, in the recipe.
Besides for regeneration of human tissue, the biomaterial could lead to the creation of tissue models for drug screening. For example, the hydrogel could be used to create lungs to test drugs for COVID-19.
We have high hopes to see these innovations move into the clinical sphere., concludes Professor Jianyu Li.
Details of this work are published in the journal Advanced Science (New window) (in English).