By Ken Molestina

ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Researchers at UT Arlington have developed a new material that could change the way soft tissue in humans is repaired in the future.

The team led by professor of  bioengineering Dr. Yi Hong, has come up with a polymer-based hydrogel material that can serve to 3D bio print soft tissues like skin, heart muscles and blood vessels.

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polymer-based hyrdro gel material

Dr. Hong says previous materials have not been strong or elastic enough until now.

He described the new hydro gel as being, “More stronger, more elastic and it can mimic the human soft elastic tissue.”

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The hydro gel bonds with existing cells and creates a temporary artificial patch while the natural tissue regrows into place.

The material is biodegradable and with time it disappears in the body without needing an additional procedure to take it out.

The next step is for it to be tested on animals.

“I think within five years to finish out the large animal studies,” said Dr. Hong.

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UTA researchers say it could be another 10 years or so before the hydro gel is ready for human use.