Washington: In a breakthrough in tissue engineering, scientists have developed a new biomaterial designed for repairing damaged human tissue, which doesn`t wrinkle up when it is stretched and closely mimics the properties of native human tissue.
The material was designed by nanoengineers at the University of California at San Diego.
Shaochen Chen, professor in nanoengineering at the university`s Jacobs School of Engineering, hopes future tissue patches, used in repairing damaged heart walls, blood vessels and skin, will be more compatible with native human tissue than existing patches.
The new biomaterial was created using a new biofabrication platform that Chen is developing under a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, reports the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
This biofabrication technique uses light, precisely controlled mirrors and a computer projection system - shined on a solution of new cells and polymers - to build 3D scaffolds with well-defined patterns of any shape for tissue engineering.
"We are also exploring other opportunities," said Chen. "It`s a new material. I think it`s just a matter of time before more people will pick up and find applications for it in defence, energy and communications, for instance."
Although Chen`s team is focused on creating biological materials, he said the manufacturing technology could be used to engineer many other kinds of materials, including metal parts used in ships and spacecraft, for example.