This is so cool – researchers are actually trying to use spider silk to replace human ligaments. This hits close to home as an ultimate frisbee player, who has seen all too many knee injuries.
Human tissue is very delicate while spider silk is 100 times stronder. Scientists at both Utah State and MIT are attempting to perfect the use of spider-silk proteins. Utah State researchers use ‘factories’ to spin large amounts of spider-silk proteins in an efficient manner. These are then spun into strands and braided into fibers to substitute for torn ligaments. The resilience and elasticity of the proteins are comparable to natural ligaments and tendons.
Other researchers at MIT are injecting collagen into spider-silk proteins to make bone grafts less brittle. Who knew!