Researchers Use "Nanowires" To Create "Cyborg" Tissue
A network of three-dimension nanoscale wires developed by researchers that will enable engineered tissue to function as efficiently as natural tissue.
The scientists at Harvard University created a “scaffold” of nanowires that can be used for seeding cells that will grow into tissue. They refer to the tissue as “cyborg” tissue – referring to a being with both natural and engineered elements.
Until now, experts have had problems in creating tissue that will feel electrical or chemical impulses after it’s implanted in the body.
“The current methods we have for monitoring or interacting with living systems are limited,” Harvard chemistry professor Charles Lieber said in a statement. “We can use electrodes to measure activity in cells or tissue, but that damages them.”
In their research, the team used heart and nerve cells with nanoscale wires embedded in them. After that, they said, they were able to detect electrical charges within the tissue grown by the cells. That in turn allowed the scientists to detect electrical charges within the cells; those charges measured responses to heart and neurological drugs.
The researchers also used blood cells in the same way to detect pH changes in tissue – indications of a ischemia or a response to inflammation. (Ischemia, a condition marked by insufficient oxygen flow to the brain or limb, is a kind of stroke.)