A body regenerating its own parts, once the gold standard of science fiction, is now within reach — transforming spinal cord injury recovery and treating back pain for millions. Not only that, the research involved also could eliminate invasive procedures such as bone marrow transplants and cartilage replacements.
Giving the body the ability to heal itself from the inside out has been on Samuel I. Stupp, PhD’s mind since the late 1990s. Regenerating tissue began with big advances in stem cell research, and Stupp wanted to go smaller. Much smaller.
That’s why his lab pioneered some of the first approaches in “soft nanotechnology,” researching how organic structures at the nanometer scale (the width of a human hair if it were split 80,000 times) can be absorbed into the body without rejection. This concept drives the work of Stupp, director of Northwestern University’s Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Institute for …