Bionic muscle regeneration within reach

04 December, 2012

Car accident victims and cancer patients are among those who may benefit from a University of Wollongong breakthrough in the use of nanostructured bionic platforms to regenerate muscles.

The development, which features in the November issue of the prestigious new journal Advanced Health Care Materials, gives scientists the ability to align muscle cells and facilitate the formation of muscle fibre in the human body.

According to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) Executive Director Professor Gordon Wallace, the discovery provides a basis for functional biosynthetic muscle to be fashioned and replace muscle in the body that has diminished as a result of disease, surgery or trauma.

"Lost muscle is replaced with biosynthetic muscle that has been engineered right down to the nanodimension on a synthetic polymer scaffold to the specific needs of the patient," Professor Wallace said.

"The work combines exciting advances in materials science, nanotechnology and novel fabrication to produce the bionic platforms and is an excellent example of how converging technologies can act together to enable rapid progress in a complex challenging field of research."

The development is the result of an international collaboration between University of Texas Dallas and ACES, via ACES nodes at the Intelligent Polymer research Institute (IPRI) at the University of Wollongong, and St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne.

"This advance was made possible using world class fabrication facilities at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus. It is a true demonstration of the world-leading position IPRI-ACES holds in the fabrication of novel structures for bionic applications," Professor Wallace said.