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June 08, 2010

Perhaps by 2020 we will be able regenerate tendons, spinal cords or heart valves

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Queen’s University professor Brian Amsden is hoping that in about 10 years a tendon, spinal cord or heart valve will be able to regenerate itself after an injury or disease.

The chemical engineering professor, along with scientists from the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto, is currently trying to develop microscopic polymer fibers to help rebuild human tissue and speed the healing process.


Dr. Amsden is trying to develop the technique where stem cells from fat are placed on a polymer prosthetic that stimulates cell growth and that is later implanted it into a person’s body.

“I can’t think of anything Frankensteinish about that because everything is you. The only thing that isn’t you is the polymer which is biodegradable and eventually disappears, so all you have left is your own tissues,” says Dr. Amsden.

Tissue engineering was first proposed in mid 1980s and using polymers to help stimulate the process came about in the early 1990s so it’s a fairly new field.


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