Light-Activated Healing Gel is Straight Out of Mass Effect

By James O Malley on at

Scientists have invented a new, flexible gel that could be used to seal up wounds, to prevent infection - which isn't a million miles away from the Medi-gel found in the Mass Effect series.

Bioengineers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BHW) in Boston came up the hydrogel, which is apparently capable of mimicking the flexibility of human tissue - meaning that it could be exactly what we need to protect our wounds as we heal. Cleverly, the hotocrosslinkable elastin-like polypeptide-based (ELP) hydrogel, as they call it is activated by exposure to light, and scientists have even found that they could tune the recipe to determine just how strong and how much swelling the gel causes. This means there are plenty of additional applications.

Nurse opens a packet of traditional hydrogel. Image credit: Shutterstock

Gizmag reports that it could also conceivably be used as scaffolding on which to grow cells in the lab, or mixed with cells in a dish and then injected into a patient to stimulate cell growth.

Helpfully too, the gel is easily destroyed too - it can be consumed by naturally occurring enzymes and in lab tests was found to be non-toxic when interacting with other cells. So no need to worry about grey goo just yet. [Gizmag]