Via ScienceDaily: researchers "have unveiled a new method for making synthetic collagen. The new material, which forms from a liquid in as little as an hour, has many of the properties of natural collagen and may prove useful as a scaffold for regenerating new tissues and organs from stem cells. ... Our final product more closely resembles native collagen than anything that's previously been made, and we make that material using a self-assembly process that is remarkably similar to processes found in nature. ... Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is a key component of many tissues, including skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and blood vessels. Biomedical researchers in the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, or tissue engineering, often use a combination of stem cells and collagen-like materials in their attempts to create laboratory-grown tissues that can be transplanted into patients without risk of immunological rejection. Animal-derived collagen, which has some inherent immunological risks, is the form of collagen most commonly used in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery today. ... Despite the abundance of collagen in the body, deciphering or recreating it has not been easy for scientists. One reason for this is the complexity collagen exhibits at different scales. ... Scientists must next determine whether cells can live and grow in the new material and whether it performs the same way in the body that native collagen does. ... clinical trials, if they prove warranted, are at least five years away."