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Scientists work on tissue regeneration

June 11, 2010 at 11:57 AM

KINGSTON, Ontario, June 11 (UPI) -- Canadian researchers say they're developing technology that uses microscopic polymer fibers to help rebuild human tissue damaged by injury or disease.

Queen's University Professor Brian Amsden, along with scientists from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, say they hope that in about 10 years a person's spinal cord, tendon or heart valve will be able to regenerate itself.

Amsden said his team is developing a technique in which stem cells from fat are placed on a polymer prosthetic that stimulates cell growth and which is later implanted it into a person's body. He admits some people might think such a process sounds like something out of the novel Frankenstein, but he says it's quite a natural process.

"I can't think of anything Frankensteinish about that because everything is you," he said. "The only thing that isn't you is the polymer, which is biodegradable and eventually disappears, so all you have left (are) your own tissues."

The research was presented last month in Halifax, Nova Scotia, during the annual meeting of the Canadian Advanced Foods and Materials Network.

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