Researchers from the University of Toronto have made easier the task of assembling functional heart tissue by creating a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together just like Velcro. Velcro uses two sheets of material, one has hooks and the other has loops. It allows them to bind together.
This will allow easier assembling and disassembling of tissue upon requirement. The study published in the journal Science Advances states how Boyang Zhang, a PhD student used a special polymer called POMaC to create a 2D mesh for cells to grow around. The mesh resembles honeycomb except that the holes are not symmetrical, but wider on one side and narrower on another. This helps the cells to line up together.
Scientists further used a biodegradable polymer implant containing interlocking T-shaped hooks to assemble different layers of heart cells into 3-D structure. Upon stimulation by an electrical current, the heart muscle cells contract together which causes the flexible polymer to bend. The T-shaped posts act like tiny hooks poking through the holes of honeycomb whenever a sheet is placed above the biodegradable polymer. This enables specialised treatment for individual layers that can maximise their survival. One of the best advantages of biodegradable polymer is that it will break down within a few months and be absorbed by the body.