Cotton Candy Machines May Help Save Lives

A Libyan girl eyes a stick of cotton can

Putting cotton candy in your body usually results in a brief sugar high and maybe a stomachache if you overindulge. Cotton candy from Vanderbilt University, however, could be lifesaving. Scientists are using cotton candy machines to produce artificial capillaries that can help bring blood to regenerating tissue.

Capillaries are the smallest kind of blood vessel and are thinner than a human hair. Networks of capillaries bring blood (containing oxygen and other nutrients) to organs and tissues, which is especially important for areas that have experienced trauma.

Scientists plan to use cells from a human body to make artificial tissues and organs. The cotton candy machines will create networks fibers about the size of a capillary inside these artificial organs. The fibers are later dissolved, leaving perfectly functional channels for blood flow.

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