A minuscule, biodegradable scaffold has been created to transplant stem cells and deliver drugs within the body, the Nature Communications journal has reported, which could help with treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as ageing brain degeneration and spinal cord injuries.

Historically stem cell transportation, while a potentially effective treatment for diseases of the central nervous system, has been troubled by low cell survival rates, incomplete differentiation of cells and limited growth of neural connections. To combat this, scientists from Rutgers University-New Brunswick have created tiny bio-scaffolds which act like natural tissue and allow for more effective stem cell transplantation and neural tissue engineering.

The researchers said they intend to test the scaffolds in larger animals before moving on to clinical trials for treating spinal cord injury in the future.