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Home Industry News Graphene-based nanotechnology advance ‘could aid nerve cell regeneration’

Graphene-based nanotechnology advance ‘could aid nerve cell regeneration’

12th April 2017

Scientists have developed a new nanotechnology innovation that uses the unique qualities of graphene to facilitate the regeneration of nerve cells.

Iowa State University researchers have found a way of using inkjet printers to print multi-layer graphene circuits to which mesenchymal stem cells can adhere, with the cells having been shown to grow actively on the treated circuit's raised, rough and 3-D nanostructures.

Lasers are used to treat and improve the surface structure and conductivity of the circuits to help convert mesenchymal stem cells into Schwann cells, which play a key role in promoting the regeneration of axons, while secreting substances that promote the health of nerve cells.

By applying 100 millivolts for ten minutes per day over 15 days to the new circuits, stem cells can be encouraged to become Schwann-like cells without the need for expensive chemical processing and nerve growth factors.

The researchers concluded: "These results help pave the way for in vivo peripheral nerve regeneration, where the flexible graphene electrodes could conform to the injury site and provide intimate electrical stimulation for nerve cell regrowth."

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