Silk To Repair Nerve Damage In Humans-Path-Is it true?
The fibres of mulberry silk can help in the regeneration of nerves and restore activity in limbs that have been affected by injuries? Indian scientists have developed this path-breaking technology!
A team of researchers at IIT Guwahati have designed tube like hollow structures made out of silk fibres doped with nanoparticles made up of gold to make surgically-implantable nerve conduits that can bridge the gaps that have occurred in the nerves due to injuries. Muscular function of the limbs and other organs can get disrupted due to snapped nerve links.
The researchers have come up with a new method of for building the nerve conduits. When the nerve regenerates, the muscle to which it connects also regains function resulting in total neuro-muscular regeneration. The team of researchers combined mulberry silk and gold nanoparticles so that the conduits have the flexibility as well as the strength of silk and gold’s property of electric conductivity.
The communication in nerves is done via electric signals and so the team felt that gold was the right doping material for the repair and regeneration of the nerves. This conduit works just like nerve tissue and then guides the regeneration of nerve cells that form the nerve tissues that form the nerve tissues in the gap. Nerve conduits are used for the treatment of severe nerve injuries in which a portion of the nerve is lost leading to a nerve gap. Such impairments usually result from traumatic injuries such as car accidents etc or from complicated orthopaedic or neuro-surgical procedures.
Damage of nerves can have an adverse effect on patients such as loss of functionality of the organs or limbs. Small gaps can be re-joined due to the regenerative power of nerves but nerve gaps exceeding 5mm are beyond the ability of the body to heal by itself.
India is facing an increased trend in injuries due to road accidents at an annual rate of 3%. Shocking! The rates of accidents are only going to increase in the near future. To treat large nerve gaps autografts remain the clinical standard but they are not readily available always and has side effects when they are sourced from donors. Silk-GNP conduits made by the IIT Guwahati team are completely compatible with the body (according to studies done on rats) since the use of biomaterial in surgeries as sutures is a fact that has been established since centuries. The nanoparticles are also produced by using fruit and herbal extracts thus addressing the concerns of potential health hazards that may occur due to their application.
It would be affordable and easily available too as a single 9 yard saree made out of silk can yield at least 1,000 conduits. As time passes the body will automatically replace the structure with its collagen without any harm. The research team has applied for an Indian patent for the silk conduits.
The step ahead is to do clinical trials in humans. Isn’t this a great news for all those who are suffering from ailments due to nerve gaps? People with immovable limbs might be able to move them on their own one day with this amazing innovation.
Hope this post has been informative!
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