Nanotechnology has restored the sight of hamsters after their optical nerve tracts were severed to mimic brain trauma.
The researchers injected the blind hamsters at the site of their injury with a solution containing synthetically made peptides – miniscule molecules measuring just five nanometres long.
Once inside the hamster’s brain, the peptides spontaneously arranged into a scaffold-like criss-cross of nanofibres, which bridged the gap between the severed nerves.
The scientists discovered that brain tissue in the hamsters knitted together across the molecular scaffold, while also preventing scar tissue from forming.
Importantly, the newly formed brain tissue enabled the brain nerves to re-grow, restoring vision in the injured hamsters.