Bioengineers show Potential of Magnetized Gel to Lessen Chronic Pain

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Recent advancements in exploring the potential of biochemical forces in the area of therapeutics have opened some exciting avenues. A team of bioengineers at University of California, Los Angeles in their study elucidated the potential of gel-like material incorporating magnetic particles to create push and pull forces on cell proteins of the affected individuals. The researchers demonstrated that the gel is effective in alleviating chronic pain caused by injury or some disease. The treatment though in nascent stage has opened a promising avenue in the application of mechanoceuticals for the management of some diseases.

The results of the study are recently published in the weekly peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials.

Magnetized Gel affected Neurons to Reduce Pain Signals

According to the lead author of the study, they had based their study on the concept of ‘neural network homeostasis’ wherein they created a mechanism of push-and-pull effect to bring changes in the nervous system to help improve pain management in patients. They developed a magnetized gel by putting tiny magnetic particles hyaluronic acid, a natural gel-like material found in the spinal cord. The biocompatible gel developed was then made to go through a magnetic field in the lab which when directed can be made to generate large number of calcium ions in the neurons. As a result, these neurons with the impact of magnetic force of the gel can be made to reduce the signals of pain through their constant stimulation.

Better Biomaterials Could be used to develop the Pain Alleviation Therapy

The researchers had also hinted on the combination of biomaterials to develop the technique to make it useful in lessening pain from cardiac and muscle disorders. Developing such a system could be useful in various scientific studies that need to reproduce concussions or traumatic injuries caused by large impact of the physical force. The work is supported by National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States.

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