Researchers at the UCLA have developed an injectable gel that promotes tissue regeneration and wound healing in the brains of stroke victims.
Background-The Body Tissue Healing Process
Damaged body cell tissue heals and regenerates through cell adhesion and cell migration. In cell adhesion, new cells “stick” to the materials between cells, called the extracellular matrix. In cell migration, proteins called integrins, pull new regenerated cells into proper location on the cell matrix. However, brain tissue damaged by stroke are unable to repair in this way.
Stroke Tissue Regeneration
At this time there is no post stroke therapy that can repair brain damaged tissue. Current therapies focus on the initial blockage in brain blood vessels that lead to this condition. This means stroke is the most common cause of adult disability. UCLA researchers developed an injectable gel-like material, called a hydrogel, that repairs brain damaged tissue and keeps it solidly anchored within the cell matrix.
This research is exciting because it now provides a viable method to transform dead and scarred brain tissue by growing new, well-formed, and solidly anchored blood vessels into the brain damaged area.
The next step is using integrin-binding molecules with other hydrogel technologies that have previously shown promise for long-term functional brain recovery.