Materials

Electrospinning Better Cell Scaffolds to Fight Cancer

Biomedical engineers at Michigan Technological University  are using electrospun synthetic polymers to build scaffolds for cancer tumor research, removing the need for animal testing. An electrospinner is a machine that uses electric fields to manipulate polymers to weave fine, nano-scale fibers into matrices. When cells grow inside the body, they require an extra-cellular matrix (ECM) on which to grow. “Synthetic ECMs are created by electrospinning matrices from polymers such as polycaprolactone and are more consistent for research than using cells from different kinds of animals,” says doctoral student Samerender Hanumantharao. The engineers changed the voltage at which the polymer is spun, allowing them to alter the shape of the scaffolds.