Sep, 2021 - By SMI
Researchers develop new implantable device that can control tendon cell activity through electric stimulation driven by body movements.
A team of scientists at National University of Ireland Galway engineered an implantable mesh that behaves like a switch to turn on the regenerative process. It heals the damaged tendons when stimulated by simple movements like walking. The team adopted piezoelectric material that produces electric energy when there is mechanical stress. These materials are utilized in other similar fields and scientists are investigating their potential in healing of damaged tendons.
The research published in the journal Advanced Materials in August 2021 included constructing a new stimulation tool that consists nano-scale fibers that were turned into cloth-like piezoelectric net. The scientists implanted the mesh in rats with minor injuries to test the mesh’s ability to provide electric stimulation that operates in blend with exercises for treating the damaged tendon. The trials revealed that the newly engineered device was capable of getting powered by easy movements like walking and of applying electrical current to the damaged part of tendon. It also stimulated tissue regeneration sending specific signals to the tendon. The device can be a possible game-changer as it acts like a switch in cells. The body movement provides electric stimulation, which turns on regeneration process of damaged tendon.
The researchers claim that such devices can majorly impact the field of regenerative devices, especially in sports or trauma related injuries. The devices are economic, not complicated to implant, and could create a path for new type of regenerative electrical treatments. The team is hoping to make an addition to the tools of orthopedic surgeons by demonstrating the potential of these regenerative devices.
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