Spider Technology Helps Repair Damaged Tissue

spiderweb-smallLook out, Spider-Man. A British company has reproduced the silk that spider webs are made out of, for use in repairing bone and joint injuries. Spidrex tissue scaffolds, developed by Oxford Biomaterials, work in tandem with the body’s ability to heal itself. The protein-based product initially supports cell growth during the healing process. Then, as the damaged tissue repairs itself, it gradually absorbs and replaces the Spidrex. Scientists based the technology on research by an Oxford University group that studies the composition of spider silks. Orthox, a spinout venture of Oxford Biomaterials, is working on a range of devices to deliver Spidrex to damaged tissue. The company will initially focus on meniscal repair. According to Orthox, Spidrex compensates for the injury in the short term, and provides a long-range alternative to implanted metal or plastic prostheses.

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