ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) researchers and partners have developed conducting fibres that harness the amazing properties of graphene for use in an electrode that is biomimetic and cytocompatible. These properties open the path for future applications in implants to stimulate muscle regeneration.
The novel aspects of the research include:
- The graphene solution used to make the fibres did not contain harsh solvents, which makes it a better fit for the human body, and was proven to still promote cell growth;
- The graphene solution was used in a base scaffold of a soft, pliable material known as PLGA (an FDA approved polymer, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)) to mimic the mechanical properties of tissues; and
- The resulting fibres were highly conductive, able to maintain their electrical properties in aqueous media, and expressed a high level of muscle cell proliferation.
In the future, patients who have lost a large amount of muscle tissue–after having a tumor removed for example–might benefit from an implant that can be wirelessly activated and uses their own cells to fast track the regrowth of functional tissue. This research is a step towards this goal.