New method could help reconnect injured organs or build functional human tissuesDNA glue directs tiny gel ‘bricks’ to self-assemble (Peng Yin) September 16, 2013
A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has found a way to self-assemble complex structures out of gel “bricks” smaller than a grain of salt. The new method could help solve one of the major challenges in tissue engineering: creating injectable components that self-assemble into intricately structured, biocompatible scaffolds at an injury site to help regrow human tissues.
The key to self-assembly was developing the world’s first programmable glue. The glue is made of DNA, and it directs specific bricks of a water-filled gel to adhere only to each other, the scientists report in the Sept. 9 online issue of Nature Communications.