Dr. Ning Zhang, a Clemson University bioengineering assistant professor, has demonstrated the ability to regenerate and repair damaged brain tissue by injection a biomaterial gel made up of both synthetic and natural sources. This gel spurs the growth of the patient’s own neural stem cells, which structurally repairs the brain injury site.
Her findings were presented at the Military Research Forum in Kansas City, and while the research is still in its early animal-testing phase, it may be ready for human testing in three to five years.
In addition, modifying the gel enables bone and cartilage to heal and grow as well. The ability to use a gel to encourage the growth and repair of damaged brain tissue, as well as bones and cartilage is a significant discovery.
The image shows the brain scan of a rat’s brain four weeks after hydrogel treament on a lesion. Tissue shows signs of repair. image by: Clemson University