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Advance in nanospun 3D scaffolds

Grafts could treat chronic wounds better and faster.

27th February 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Surrey, United Kingdom


A new technique for electrospinning nanofibre mats has allowed scientists from the University of Surrey in the UK to produce 3D scaffolds on which skin grafts can be grown directly from a patient’s own skin.

Electrospinning electrifies droplets of liquid to form fibres from plastics and this is believed to be the first time anybody has electro-spun a 3D structure directly and on-demand so that it can be produced to scale.

The scientists prepared a solution which included gelatin and polyaprolactone (PCL) – a biodegradable polymer which is known to be compatible with human tissue – and pumped it through a syringe into an electrical field to stretch it into the nanofibres.   

The process is simple, scalable and cheap and the researchers hope it can now be used in other medical applications.

“After spinning these scaffolds, we grew skin cells on them and seven days later they were twice as viable as cells grown on 2D films or mats,” said Chloe Howard, postgraduate researcher at Surrey’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering  “They even did better than cells grown on plasma-treated polystyrene – previously the gold standard. Our findings pave the way for harvesting a patient’s own skin cells and multiplying them. These grafts could treat chronic wounds better and faster.”

“ Electrospinning is extremely adaptable,” added associate professor Dr Vlad Stolojan. “We can mimic the way that muscle fibres behave by spinning fibres that align in the same direction. This technique could one day create artificial skin, bone and cartilage too – helping people recover from wounds quicker, and with better long-term results. “

The research was published in the journal Nanomaterials.

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