Heart muscle repair role envisioned for living 'tissue-Velcro'


A biological Velcro has been developed that makes it possible to stack layers of living tissue together and then peel them apart.

Scientists believe the "tissue-Velcro" system could in future be used to repair and re-build damaged heart muscle.

Velcro uses two sheets of material, one covered by hooks and the other loops, that bind when brought together.

In a similar way, the scientists used a biodegradable polymer implant containing interlocking T-shaped hooks to assemble different layers of heart cells into a 3D structure.

The system allows individual layers to be given different kinds of treatment to maximise their survival.

It also means assembled tissue can easily be dismantled, without causing damage.

The same is not true for other tissue regeneration techniques, which rely on scaffolds and imprinted gels.

The team, led by Professor Milica Radisic, from the University of Toronto in Canada, wrote in the journal Science Advances: "We envisioned designing living tissues that could be as easily and firmly assembled as two pieces of Velcro.

"Conventional Velcro is composed of two sheets: one sheet is an array of hooks and the other is a sheet of fibres that form loops.

"When the two surfaces are brought into contact, the loops catch on the hooks and the layers remain attached until a sufficient pull-off force is applied.

"Not all hooks will attach to a loop, but when a sufficient number of hooks catch a loop over the contact area, significant adhesive force can be generated.

"Tissue-Velcro uses the same mechanical interlocking principle to lock two living tissue meshes together."