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Crop Biotech Update

Biomaterial from Tamarind Seeds Aids Nerve Regeneration

June 10, 2011

Monash University researcher Andrew Rodda has developed a biomaterial that may help damaged nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to regrow. Rodda and his team investigated xyloglucan, a compound that comes from the seeds of tamarind which functions in linking cells together. He developed a compound similar to xyloglucan which can be injected into an injury without turning into gel before it reaches the location where it is needed. Once it has reached the location, the compound turns into gel and serve as a support structure like a temporary scaffold for healthy cells to migrate and reattach themselves to the nervous system.

Scientists have long claimed  that damaged nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are irreparable, until now. According to Rodda, the main reason for this problem is the toxic environment left after nerve death. But with the use of Rodda's compound, the helper cells were the first to migrate into the implanted gel secreting beneficial chemicals that create an environment for the delicate nerve cells to survive.

The results of his study could be a promising solution in treating nerve-based injuries and diseases like Parkinson's.

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