Hydrogels

  • Slapping on a Band-Aid is the easiest way to help a cut on your skin heal, but things aren’t so simple for internal wounds. Now, researchers from Harvard have developed spray-on hydrogels, produced by bacteria, that can help heal these internal wounds.
  • Science
    ​The most numerous of organisms on Earth, bacteriophages are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. Now, scientists have grown enough of them to create a self-healing hydrogel that's made almost entirely of the things. It could have important applications in medicine, and in other fields.
  • ​With a few experimental exceptions, bandages generally just cover wounds, as opposed to actively healing them. That's not the case with a new heat-activated "active adhesive dressing" (AAD), however, which forgoes antibiotics while mimicking embryonic skin.
  • A patient’s immune system can often react badly to bone marrow transplants. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) may help, but they too can be cleared out by immune cells. Now, a Harvard team has shown that coating MSCs in a thin hydrogel can protect them, making bone marrow transplants more successful.
  • In many arid coastal regions, a great quantity of fresh water is lost into the atmosphere every day, as it evaporates from the ocean. This situation prompted scientists to create a new hydrogel that's highly effective at capturing moisture from the sea air, and then releasing it as fresh water.
  • Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have demonstrated a prototype of a drug that can release three active ingredients, at different times in sequence. The key to this unusual and useful ointment is artificial DNA, which breaks down at precise intervals.
  • Science
    Although it may be hard to believe that there is already an "established" method of doing something such as 3D-printing biological tissue, there does indeed seem to be one. It utilizes microscale scaffolds – which a newly-developed technique does away with the need for.
  • Science
    ​There are a variety of situations that may call for the implantation of electrodes in the brain, ranging from the treatment of neurological conditions to restoring the function of paralyzed limbs. A newly-developed hydrogel could someday replace such electrodes, allowing for better functionality.
  • ​There may not be much water on the ground in arid parts of the world, but there still is some water vapor that can be drawn from the air. While so-called "fog nets" provide one way of doing so, scientists have now created a higher-tech alternative – it's a device that incorporates a salty hydrogel.
  • Scientists in Switzerland have developed a new form of hydrogel they say has unparalleled adhesive properties, a characteristic that could prove particularly useful in trying to repair cartilage and meniscus. ​
  • ​Although we've already heard about hydrogels that help to heal chronic wounds, the University of New Hampshire's Asst. Prof. Kyung Jae Jeong states that most of them aren't porous enough. An inexpensive micro-hole-filled gel made by his team, however, is claimed to perform much better.
  • Skin cancer treatment often still requires chemotherapy, which is delivered intravenously and can cause a whole range of unpleasant side effects. Now, researchers have made the first steps towards a kind of chemo that can be “painted” onto the skin.