The new structures are being developed by scientists from the University of Bristol, using proteins from alpha helices – one of the fundamental ways that strings of amino acids fold - to create long fibres called hydrogelating self assembling fibres (hSAFs), or hydrogels. By learning how to build hSAFs from scratch, the researchers are starting to understand how they might use these 3D scaffolds to support the growth of nerves, blood vessels and cartilage tailored to the needs of individual patients.
Professor Dek Woolfson who is leading the work, explains: "To make hydrogels you need something long and thin that will interact with copies of itself and form meshes, but is also water soluble. However rather than using natural proteins, which are complex, we've tried to make something as simple as possible that we fully understand using peptides and self assembling proteins."
Currently, hydrogel scaffold structures, made either synthetically or from natural resources such as seaweed, are used in everyday products from shampoos to drug capsules.
But explains, Professor Woolfson, the hSAFs his team are developing will have different uses: "The downside of using peptides or proteins is that they are expensive compared with synthetic polymers. We are almost certainly looking at high end biomedical applications, generating cells which can be used in living systems. Potential medical benefits include growing tissues such as skin, nerves and cartilage in the laboratory which will advance basic research and may lead to biomedical applications like speeding up wound healing and grafting."
Commenting on the research, BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Doug Kell, said: "This research highlights the importance of understanding how things work at a micro level and then looking at different ways to apply this knowledge to create effective solutions for tackling everyday problems, in this instance, translating basic bioscience into technology which could have very real clinical benefits for patients."
This research is featured in the latest edition of Business, the quarterly magazine of BBSRC.
ContactBBSRC Media Office
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.
The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.
Tracey Jewitt | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > BBSRC > Biological Science > Biological Sciences Research > Biotechnology > Business Vision > Science TV > alpha helices > amino acid > biomedical applications > blood vessel > hSAFs > hydrogel scaffold structures > hydrogelating self assembling fibres > hydrogels > natural resource
Scientists call for improved technologies to save imperiled California salmon
14.12.2017 | NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region
Cardiolinc™: an NPO to personalize treatment for cardiovascular disease patients
14.12.2017 | Luxembourg Institute of Health
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences