Researchers from the University of California San Francisco have made a breakthrough in regenerative medicine by engineering “cellular glue” molecules that can directly bond tissues.
The team produced customized adhesion molecules that bound select cells predictably, giving them control over the regenerative potential of the body. The artificial adhesion molecules come in two parts: one sits outside the cell and determines which other cells it binds to, while the other sits inside and determines the strength of the bond.
This discovery paves the way for the creation of complex, solid organs like the liver or lungs, as well as more flexible structures like immune molecules. According to Wendell Lim, director of UCSF’s Cell Design Institute, “these tools could be really transformative.”