Growing synthetic collagen

Discovering the secrets of collagen, a major component of connective tissue in mammals could lead to improved tissue engineering and cosmetic and reconstructive medicine. Now, Jeffrey Hartgerink and his team at Rice University building on many years work into synthetic collagen are looking at twisting together three distinct peptide strands into triple helical bundles that might be used as blood clotting agents or as scaffolding materials for regenerative medicine, or tissue engineering. "A number of biomaterials use natural collagen, and there are advantages to replacing them with synthetic collagens," Hartgerink explains. "One of the main advantages is that we move away from health and regulatory problems associated with using animal sources."