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Cutting edge tissue regeneration research uses polymer as key component

Queen’s University chemical engineering professor Brian Amsden is hoping that microscopic polymer fibers...


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August 6, 2010 by Canadian Plastics

Queen’s University chemical engineering professor Brian Amsden is hoping that microscopic polymer fibers will help allow a tendon, spinal cord or heart valve to be able to regenerate itself after an injury or disease.

Along with scientists from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, Amsden is currently trying to develop microscopic polymer fibers to help rebuild human tissue and speed the healing process.

As reported in a Queen’s University news story, the process involves placing stem cells from fat onto a polymer prosthetic that stimulates cell growth and that is later implanted it into a person’s body.

The polymer is biodegradable and will eventually disappear, Amsden said, so that only the person’s own tissues will remain.

Tissue engineering was first proposed in mid 1980s and using polymers to help stimulate the process came about in the early 1990s, making it a fairly new trend.

The impact would be huge on Canada’s aging population, Amsden noted. Many baby boomers want to remain active as they get older and this research will allow people in their 60s and 70s to live healthier.

Dr. Amsden’s findings were recently presented at the Advanced Foods and Materials Network annual conference in Halifax.