A team of scientists (ready for this?) has created a new kind of yarn made out of human skin cells. That’s right. They call it “human textile,” and it’s made out of our own skin cells. What’s more, you can twist it, braid it, tie it in a knot, and even use it for knitting and sewing. Do you like to crochet? It can be used for that, too.
Scientists created the yarn by cutting sheets of human skin cells into sheets, then weaving it into various shapes.
“We can sew pouches, create tubes, valves and perforated membranes,” Nicholas L’Heureux, who led the work at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux said.
But here’s the best (and grossest) part. The researchers say the yarn can also be used in some medical procedures. For example, doctors and nurses could use it to stitch up wounds.
“This novel strategy holds the promise of a next generation of medical textiles that will be mechanically strong without any foreign scaffolding,” the research team said.
In the study, published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia, the scientists say this new yarn would be fully integrated into the human body. Unlike the synthetic materials that are currently used in surgeries, there’s no risk of the human textile causing an immune response like inflammation.
Researchers have already used the human yarn to stitch a rat’s wounds and to create a skin graft to stop a sheep’s artery from leaking. Are you shivering yet?
“These human textiles offer a unique level of biocompatibility and represent a new generation of completely biological tissue-engineered products,” the scientists said in their study. “This material can be used as a simple suture to close a wound or can be assembled into fully biological, human [tissue].”
No word yet on when the human yarn will be used on people.