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National Science Foundation

NSF 07-43, Benchmarks of NSF Innovation

top portion of cover page for the Benchmarks of NSF Innovation, includes illustration of molecule chains above rippling water
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NSF-funded researchers at the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues have developed a new injectable polymer that shows promise for repairing bone defects, soft tissue injuries and severe spinal cord injuries that are now largely untreatable. The new polymer can be directly injected into the injured area, where the material rapidly turns to a semi-solid gel bridging gaps and stabilizing damage.

In addition, cells and bioactive agents, such as proteins, can be embedded in the gel to promote enhanced regeneration of bone and nerve cells. Gel insertion is minimally invasive, and the polymer can fill a wide range of gaps,
eliminating the need for specially fabricated inserts.

artist illustration of spinal cord

An injectable polymer holds promise to heal spinal cord injuries.

Credit: Microsoft.

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