Medical Innovation with Synthetic Hydrogel

A group of scientists, engineers, and physicists at McGill University hope to improve the
recovery period from various surgeries with the use of a synthetic hydrogel biomaterial. The hydrogel
can theoretically repair muscles including heart tissue and vocal cords. The challenge was to make
biomaterial strong enough to be protective, while being able to withstand the body’s everyday
movements. The gel would work by creating a protective barrier around the surgical area, allowing
healthy cells to replicate within the organ as they typically would. If this biomaterial becomes fully
approved, it will be the first of its kind to exist.

Testing of this new synthetic is extensive and thorough. One of the key challenges was making
certain that the hydrogel would not lose its structure without inhibiting tissue growth. Liquids can be
very dense preventing cells from passing through. The team added a porous polymer that would allow
living cells to move freely around the healing area. Getting approval to use this gel would be a
monumental innovation for medicine. The hope is that it can be utilized in fighting a wide variety of
health concerns.


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