"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse
Scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois have developed a 3-dimensional network of peptide nanofibers which, after self-assembly, form a scaffold to induce differentiation of progenitor cells into neurons. Aside from simply guiding differentiation towards neurons, the scaffold also selectively blocks differentiation into astrocytes which often cause scarring and block further neural development. The hope is that the process will allow doctors to reverse paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries.
"The innovative scaffold is made up of nanofibers formed by peptide amphiphile molecules. The scientists' key breakthrough was designing the peptide amphiphiles so that when they self-assembled into the scaffold a specific sequence of five amino acids known to promote neuron growth were presented in enormous density on the outer surfaces."
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