Cotton Candy Machine Used to Regrow Human Tissue
Vanderbilt University engineers are working to regrow body tissue that has been damaged by trauma or disease. Regenerating tissue needs blood to survive and in living systems, which is done by capillaries - branching networks of tiny blood vessels. The engineers turned to a cotton candy machine to whip up polymer fibers. The size of fibers it produces are very close to the size of capillaries. The researchers pour hydrogel over the fibers, harden the hydrogel in an incubator, and then dissolve the fibers - leaving a network of tiny channels behind that works similarly to a network of capillaries. There is much more to be done before this artificial tissue is ready for use in patients, but the team believes this will be a game changer in the field of regenerative medicine.