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Scientists Create ‘Origami Organs’ That Can Regenerate Tissues

It was an accidental discovery!

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A scientist from Northwestern University that was experimenting accidentally invented a breakthrough in biological materials, which they called ‘origami organs’. This new invention is made of biological tissue papers and has the potential to produce natural hormones which can be useful for treating cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy.

Scientists and engineers from Northwestern Medicine were able to create a range of these bioactive tissue papers that are made of materials that are derived from organs which are thin and flexible enough to fold into an origami bird. These new biomaterials can be used to support natural hormone production in young cancer patients and help in wound healing.

The tissue papers are made from structural proteins that are excreted by cells that give organs their form and structure. The proteins are combined with a polymer to make the materials pliable.

Source: Dailymail via Northwestern University

The study involved creating different types of tissue papers from ovarian, uterine, kidney, liver, muscle or heart proteins that were taken by processing pig and cow organs. Each tissue paper had specific cellular properties of the organ from which they were made.

“This new class of biomaterials has potential for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as well as drug discovery and therapeutics,” Ramille Shah, an assistant professor of surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine and an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at McCormick School of Engineering, and corresponding author said. “It’s versatile and surgically friendly.”

Source: Sciencedaily via Northwestern University

When it comes to wound healing, Shah thinks that the tissue paper can provide support and cell signaling that is needed to help regenerate tissue to prevent scarring and make healing faster.

The Process

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The tissue papers are made from natural organs or tissues. The cells are going to be removed, which leaves the natural structural proteins, or extracellular matrix, which are going to be dried into a powder and processed into the tissue papers. Each type of paper contains residual biochemicals and protein architecture from the original organ it came from which can stimulate cells to behave in a certain way.


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Northwestern University

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