But the Achilles' heel in the prosthetic repertoire is fixing tendons… such as that found in the ankle. Now, researchers from the universities of Manchester and Liverpool have turned to nanotechnology to create artificial tendons using a spinning technique with a biodegradable plastic.
Writing in Inderscience's International Journal of Nanotechnology and Biomaterials Lucy Bosworth and Sandra Downes of the Department of Biomaterials, at the University of Manchester, and colleague Peter Clegg of The University of Liverpool, explain how materials science could be used to create very thin fibres to help regenerate damaged tendons.
Tendon injuries are a common problem facing anyone who takes part in sports or many other activities. A variety of tendons in man may be affected by injury, including tendons in the shoulder, elbows, biceps, knee, foot, and the notorious Achilles, the researchers say, while from the veterinary perspective, tendon problems in horses leads to costly losses to the racing industry.
Even with urgent treatment, scar tissue quickly forms as a tendon heals often leading to chronic pain and recurrent problems. Current treatments are ineffective, explain Bosworth and colleagues, so there is an urgent clinical need to find ways to prevent inferior scar tissue forming as an injury heals.
She and her colleagues reasoned that biocompatible fibres of the plastic polycaprolactone would not only be biocompatible and so be accepted by the body, but would be degraded over time as the injury heals and so replaced by new, healthy tissue.
They used a technique known as electrospinning to produce long, thin fibres of this material just a few thousandths the thickness of a human hair. These polymer nanofibres have a structure resembling the natural fibres of tendons; however, in this form they are not similar enough to be useful as a scaffold for tissue regeneration.
The Manchester team working with Peter Clegg, in Liverpool's Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, have now experimented with different electrospinning conditions to fabricate polycaprolactone nanofibres that form in long bundles that could be grouped together to form a temporary scaffold mimicking the structure of tendon tissue. Implanted into an injured tendon this scaffold material would act as a support for the growth of new tissue and prevent the formation of inferior scar tissue.
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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