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Methods used to create textiles also could help manufacture human tissues

Tissue engineering is a process that uses novel biomaterials seeded with stem cells to grow and replace missing tissues. When certain types of materials are used, the “scaffolds” that are created to hold stem cells eventually degrade, leaving natural tissue in its place. The challenge is creating enough of the material on a scale that clinicians need to treat patients. Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the MU College of Engineering, and her team recently tested new methods to make the process of tissue engineering more cost effective and producible in larger quantities. Tissues could help patients suffering from wounds caused by diabetes and circulation disorders, patients in need of cartilage or bone repair and to women who have had mastectomies by replacing their breast tissue.

Figure Showing Successful Cell Lines
In this figure, Alizarin Red S calcium staining shows how all nonwoven fabrics types were evaluated as tissue engineering scaffolds. Calcium deposits appear dark red after staining and all fabric types exhibited the presence of intense calcium staining when treated indicating the presence of viable cells.
Credit: Stephen Tuin