US researchers have now found a new role for the candyfloss - it can help create small and intricate blood vessels.
The traditional cotton candies have been an attraction to kids for many years, and
The study led by Jason Spector of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Leon Bellan of Cornell University has shown that cotton candies can be used as a template to grow artificial vascular networks inside engineered tissue, needed especially during transplants.
During the study, the researchers placed some candy in a non-stick mould, and poured over a polymer-resin mix that set hard after a day.
They then dissolved away the sugar using water and alcohol to leave a solid cube shot through with a network of channels.
The researchers found that the channels were similar in dimensions to real networks of capillaries, reports New Scientist magazine.
To demonstrate that blood could flow easily through the material, the researchers pumped rat blood with fluorescent labeling through the network.
The researchers are now working on creating casts using a biodegradable resin mixed with cells of a particular tissue, and coating the cast's channels with blood vessel cells.
As the cells grow, the biodegradable resin should gradually disappear to leave an artificial tissue sample with its own blood vessel network.