Nano-scaffold may offer spinal cord damage cure

A PhD student at Monash University has used new technology to spin a 3-D nano-sized scaffold from polymers that are a hundred times smaller than human hair. The scaffold is being designed to hold stem cells that could be seeded onto the structure to repair nerve damage. The use of nanotechnology in stem cell therapy cold advance a cure for spinal cord damage or Parkinson's, says David Nisbet.

"The scaffold is injected into the body at the site requiring nerve regeneration," explains Nisbet. "We can embed the stem cells into the scaffold outside the body or once the scaffold is implanted. The nerve cells adhere to the scaffold in the same way ivy grips and weaves through a trellis, forming a bridge in the brain or spinal cord. Over time, the scaffold breaks down and is naturally passed from the body, leaving the newly regenerated nerves intact."

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