Growing new tissues to replace diseased ones in a guided and engineered way has almost become a practical reality.
Scientists at Tufts have been perfecting their use of silk as a platform on which cells can grow and proliferate. In their latest success, the team headed by Professor David L. Kaplan has developed a way to create silk sponges that dissolve into the body after a predetermined amount of time.
This is critically significant as different cell types require more or less initial support, while providing unnecessary support hinders the natural growth of cells where the man-made scaffold resides.
The scientists tested their silk scaffolds both in in-vitro, as well as implanting them into animals, and demonstrated that they hold onto mesenchymal stem cells seeded throughout their structure and help them grow throughout.