PhysOrg reminds me here of a piece of jewelry my mother won at an auction, which she then gave to me to give to the lady of my affections. It was a pair of Victorian earrings made from human hair. As a romantic gift, it didn’t quite go over as well as one might have hoped. Well, maybe if I tried something more prosaic, like a handmade sweater. I could knit it from something special. Like medical textiles woven from human skin cells…
Medical textiles are materials that can be used to heal skin and other body parts. They can also replace parts of damaged organs. But not all patients have the same reactions to all textiles, because the materials are often treated as foreign agents by the immune system. So scientists continue to look for ways to create textiles that the human body will accept. In this new effort, the researchers have created textiles out of human fibroblasts—cells that normally assist with the production of collagen and other fibers. The body will not reject them because they are natural human cells.
The researchers have created a variety of textiles out of the material for use in a wide variety of applications. The researchers first grew skin cell fibroblasts into sheets of material. The sheets were then fashioned into desired shapes. In many instances, they were cut into strings for applications such as suturing wounds. The strings could also be twisted or knotted to create braids or used like yarn for knitting or crochet applications. One notable advantage of the new technique is that it does not require the use of scaffolds to create parts of organs—they can simply be fashioned in ways similar to knitting a hat or scarf.
You can read the research in Acta Biomaterialia here.
[via someone on Facebook, but I can’t recall who.]