Protein hydrogels combined with plastics can be injected into the human body as a vehicle to deliver drugs or cells that regenerate damaged tissue. In a breakthrough described in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, a degradable polymer-tipped network allows the gels to maintain a structure inside the body.
The discovery was made by a research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) funded by the U.S. Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN). Potential applications of these nanostructured gels include preventing blood loss, accelerating wound healing and protecting against infections and disease.
The research team was led by Bradley Olsen, an assistant professor of chemical engineering....