Self-healing materials will eventually fix anything from cell phone screens to car fenders, enabling surfaces to heal on their own in the presence of different types of light. But none of the earlier prototypes we’ve seen work quite like this new plastic: It bleeds red at the site of injury. Then it heals itself, inspired by the properties of tree trunks and human skin.
Tissue engineering and tissue healing have a common complication — it’s difficult to build new blood vessels throughout the rebuilt skin, but vasculature is required to keep the skin alive. This is especially problematic for victims of severe burns. A new customized sugary gel substance can work wonders to re-grow skin and the associated blood vessels, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
California researchers have created a tissue-engineered small-scale small intestine in mice, a breakthrough for regenerative medicine and a step toward growing new intestines for humans. The process re-creates all the layers of cells that make up a functioning intestine.
Scientists have long been stymied by human regenerative healing -- that is, wholesale regrowth of, say, a severed limb -- an ability inherent in some species but lost on humans. But new research suggests the ability to regenerate isn't based on something newts and flatworms have that we don't; rather, it's something we do have that's keeping us from regenerating tissues.