Australian new gel boosts cell revival in damaged brain tissue

CANBERRA, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) and Deakin University have developed a gel which boosts stem cell treatments targeting and regenerating damaged brain tissue.

According to the media release on Thursday, the new "hydrogel" could offer new hope for people with brain injuries, Parkinson's disease and stroke patients.

The gel, which consists of stem cells and held together largely by water, could replace existing and less effective treatments.

David Nisbet from the AMU College of Engineering and Computer Science said that the gel acts as "a sanctuary for cells" and has a higher success rate than current treatments for injured brains.

"There are some major problems with existing cell transplantation technology. The biggest challenge is the amount of replacement cells that die once they are administered into the brain," he said.

"The hydrogel we have developed largely stops this. It protects the cells during administration and provides an environment after their injection that greatly increases their survival," he added.

"Our hydrogel shields the transplanted cells from inflammation in an injured brain. The cells then start to integrate with the brain's circuitry and we see repair and functional recovery."

When injected into the brain, the hydrogel self-assembles to form a synthetic web that the cells can grow in because it is a structure that is similar to brain tissue, according to the media release.  


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