RICE UNIVERSITY

Graphene nanoribbons show promise for healing spinal injures

MIKE WILLIAMS – SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

Rice scientists develop Texas-PEG to help knit severed, damaged spinal cords

 

The combination of graphene nanoribbons made with a process developed at Rice University and a common polymer could someday be of critical importance to healing damaged spinal cords in people, according to Rice chemist James Tour.

The Tour lab has spent a decade working with graphene nanoribbons, starting with the discovery of a chemical process to “unzip” them from multiwalled carbon nanotubes, as revealed in a Nature paper in 2009. Since then, the researchers have used them to enhance materials for the likes of deicers for airplane wings, better batteries and less-permeable containers for natural gas storage.

Now their work to develop nanoribbons for medical applications has resulted in a material dubbed Texas-PEG that may help knit damaged or even severed spinal cords.

A paper on the results of preliminary animal-model tests appears in the journal Surgical Neurology International.

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