(TMU) — A team of scientists in France have managed to grow a “human textile” from human skin cells, creating yarn based on human flesh that can be used to close wounds or knitted, crocheted, and weaved into unique patterns for implantable skin grafts.
Researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux have already successfully used the material in operations on animals, but they claim that the material can be used to repair human organs or graft tissue in life-saving operations in the future.
Experiments have included stitching up a rat’s wounds—which allowed it to fully heal over the course of two weeks—and an experiment on a sheep that involved creating a textile tube using a custom-made loom and grafting it onto its artery, allowing blood to flow perfectly without the tube having any sort of leak.
The researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Acta Biomateriala:
“These human textiles offer a unique level of biocompatibility and represent a new generation of completely biological tissue-engineered products.”
Comprise of cells called fibroblasts, the versatile skin-like material is cut into long strips twisted to form threads that can then be transformed into various structures.
And while the idea of such a flesh-based yarn seems grotesque, it actually has a key advantage over conventional synthetic surgical materials—mainly that it does not trigger the immune responses and inflammation that complicates the healing process, making it a perfect new substance for medical procedures.
Nicholas L’Heureux, a lead author of the study, told New Scientist:
“We can sew pouches, create tubes, valves and perforated membranes.
With the yarn, any textile approach is feasible: knitting, braiding, weaving, even crocheting.”