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July 30, 2012
Researchers at Purdue University developed a technique using sugar filaments spun like cotton candy and coated with a polymer to create a scaffold of tiny synthetic tubes that might serve as conduits to regenerate nerves severed in accidents or damaged by disease. These images, taken with fluorescent-dyed samples, show nerve-insulating cells called Schwann cells (on left) growing on a tubule, and a combination of Schwann cells and neurons aligned lengthwise along the tubes (on right). This alignment is critical for the fast growth of nerves. Credit: Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Basic Medical Sciences; Center for Paralysis Research, Purdue University

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