Published: 04th May 2023
IISc researchers develop 3D-printed gel-based sheets to repair nerves
In collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and Maharishi Markandeshwar University, the researchers were able to successfully repair and regenerate the sciatic nerve in rats
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a non-invasive treatment for nerve injury by making use of 3D-printed gel-based sheets. Giving more details about this, the researchers of the Department of Materials Engineering said that the procedure can help in reducing the need for invasive surgery and heal damaged nerves faster.
Currently, nerve injuries are treated by autograft, grafting tissue from one area of the body to the damaged area. However, these are risky, given the possibility of infection as well as highly intricate microsurgeries, they added, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.
Further, to reduce the invasiveness of the procedure, a type of smart gel-based sheet using 3D printing was designed. Explaining the process, the researchers said, these sheets can be automatically rolled into a tube to act as a nerve conduit to facilitate nerve regeneration. By means of 3D printing, the nerve to be repaired can be printed based on the requirement. In addition, the ‘smart’ sheet can undergo shape change after it has been activated, they added.
In collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and Maharishi Markandeshwar University, the researchers were able to successfully repair and regenerate the sciatic nerve in rats.
Moreover, the sheets make use of two types of gels that swell in different ways to warp and turn into a tube when it comes in contact with water. Once the tube is formed, it guides the torn or damaged nerve into regenerating. Interestingly, the healing time observed in rats was found to be much less than those used in current practices in treating nerve injuries, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.