Topic of the Month

Real plastic hearts

Polymer research in medicine

Source: istockphoto / yodiyim

Attractive alternative: the artificial heart

The artificial heart imitates a human heart as closely as possible. (Photo: Zurich Heart)

Stealth caps for art hearts

Tissue engineering of muscle fibers: Cells are packaged in protective capsules and sprayed over a spun polymer scaffold in several layers. At their destination, the cells shed the gelatinous coating and develop into mature muscle cells. (Source: Empa)

Slobbery protection

Imitating nature: A network of muscle fibers grows on spun plastic scaffold. Under a confocal laser scanning microscope the muscle fibers appear in red, and the cell nuclei in blue. Image: Lukas Weidenbacher

Invisible to the immune system

As early as 7 days later, the cells join up in the scaffold (white) and form elongated muscle fibers (yellow), as shown in this stained electron microscope image. Image: Lukas Weidenbacher

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