According to a recent study led by a Clemson University bioengineer, an injectable biomaterial gel may help brain tissue grow at the site of a traumatic brain injury.
This new research reveals that a biomaterial gel—which is made up of both synthetic and natural sources—shows promise in spurring the growth of a patient’s own neural stem cells thereby structurally repairing the brain injury site.
In earlier studies, researchers have demonstrated the renewal of a whole vascular network at the injury site as a preliminary step toward brain tissue regeneration.
This study, one of the very few in traumatic brain injury research to attempt to regenerate tissues using tissue engineering, involved the testing of animals, yet the researchers believe this procedure will be ready for human trials in the coming years.
According to researchers, current approaches to traumatic brain injury treatment are limited in their success, as they focus on managing the primary injury though treatments such as hypothermia or neuroprotection. However, this new procedure would aid the brain in regenerating new healthy brain issue at the site of injury.
This research is funded by the US Department of Defense and has been presented at a Military Research Forum. The military is invested in such research because traumatic brain injuries are on the rise among those serving in combat, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, some say traumatic brain injury is one of the most common injuries afflicting those serving in our armed forces today.