Queen’s University professor Brian Amsden reveals that approximately in 10 years a tendon, spinal cord or heart valve will be capable of regenerating itself post an injury or disease. The chemical engineering professor, along with scientists from the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto is presently trying to establish microscopic polymer fibers that may help recreate the human tissue and increase the speed of the healing process.
Dr. Amsden says that using polymers to help grow muscles may sound something out of Frankenstein but it is apparently quite natural. He further reveals that he is trying to develop a technique where stem cells from fat are placed on a polymer prosthetic. Polymer prosthetic would help cell growth, and it is further implanted into a person’s body.
“I can’t think of anything Frankensteinish about that because everything is you. The only thing that isn’t you is the polymer which is biodegradable and eventually disappears, so all you have left is your own tissues,” says Dr. Amsden.
Tissue engineering was proposed initially in mid 1980s and in the early 1990s polymers were found to help the activation of the process. Now, it is known to be a completely new field. This study is expected to have a huge impact on Canada’s aging population baby boomers in particular who may want to remain active as they get older. This study may also help people in their 60s and 70s to live an improved life.
These findings were recently presented at the Advanced Foods and Materials Network annual conference in Halifax.