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Spaghetti Highways: Tools of Regenerative Medicine?

Researchers are investigating synthetic nanofilament gels resembling spaghetti that may serve as smart scaffolds for a variety of applications, including the regeneration of cartilage and bone.

So-called “noodle gels” may align stem cells for proper repair of damaged tissue, and gels containing aligned filaments could act as highways to deliver growth factors to diseased tissues.

The innovative gels are in preclinical testing for at various companies including Nanotope, an Illinois-based regenerative medicine company. Applications under investigation include cartilage and bone regeneration. Company founder Samuel Stupp, Ph.D. has stated that some of the materials could be in clinical trials within five years.

In 2010, Nanotope entered into an agreement with Smith & Nephew to develop an injectable cartilage regeneration product based on Nanotope’s proprietary regenerative medicine platform.

This research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in March 2012.


“Noodle gels” or “spaghetti highways” could become tools of regenerative medicine. American Chemical Society, March 25, 2012.

Arrowhead Portfolio Company, Nanotope, Inc. Enters Agreement with Smith & Nephew for the License and Development of Cartilage Regeneration Technology. October 18, 2010.

Also of interest: How Samuel Stupp Is Rebuilding Your Body, One Molecule at a Time. Fast Company, February 7, 2011.