In regenerative medicine, the ideal repair material would offer properties that seem impossibly contradictory. It must be rigid and robust enough to be manipulated surgically, yet soft and porous enough to allow healing cells to pass through it to launch repair and regeneration processes.
Now, researchers have taken an important step toward creating such a material by combining water-filled particles known as microgels with robust polymer networks made of natural fibrin. In a remarkable dynamic process, the microgels self-assemble into three-dimensional tunnel-like structures that could allow repair cells to migrate through the polymer network to begin the healing process.
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