MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: How to blend Spider-silk with artificially manufactured skin by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute?

Date: Tue Feb 12 09:12:36 2013
Posted By: dave armstrong, Faculty, Biology,Bath College
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1360670119.Gb

Good one, Reuben,

You will notice that modern cell cultures in the lab can be of bacteria, stem cells, or just human skin cells. Skin can always grow easily on your body, unlike most organs. Only the liver is as good at regenerating itself! It also grows easily in culture if its provided with a vital mixture of nutrients. It's this mix that determines how the skin will grow. it can become a skin tissue, as it is here, or it can be persuaded to grow as individual dermis cells.

As Dr. A shows, the spider silk easily blends with living cells, possibly because it's a protein quite similar to keratin or cutin, that are found in skin and hair. If we used a mineral or other unnatural material, we could achieve the same result that you see in many recent artificial hips or knees. Ideally these items would have no plastic or metal bits, so the spider silk may be very useful for those purposes when Dr. A gets started on new research.

In order to prevent rejection in the body, any soldiers will tell you how they have to drug up on all kinds of anti-rejection chemicals. Spider silk doesn't have this rejection problem and the end-product is dead anyway, like leather with greater-bullet-proofing! So the living cell (mainly proteins) and the protein combine well, are dried and then make a resistant item of "clothing."

Seems like an ideal blend for future developments too. I hope this reply suits you, but if you want more ideas on this or other research, please get back in touch!

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