A new gel based sponge has bio-engineers excited over its astounding capabilities. Among these innovative capabilities, it can be filled with drug or stem cells, molded into any chosen shape—even compressed to just the very last bit of its size —and injected. Once in the body, it reverts back to its original shape, slowly performing its chosen function before degrading in a non-hazardous process. Explicitly, this means that cells are held in place and shaped into three dimensions, breaking down as the new tissue forms.
Possible uses: to bulk up or replace lost tissues; to deliver transplant cells.
It consists of alginate, “a seaweed-based jelly”. Large pores allow large molecules and liquids to pass through easily. The alginate gel can hold drugs or stem cells, allowing for a slow release.
Usually, such a scaffold must be received surgically, but this gel is so robust and specific, it does not require surgical implantation.