RCCC Nerve Repair and Regeneration Projects

Clinical Challenges Project Proposed Therapies
Peripheral nerve lacerations or segmental defects Optimizing nerve conduit scaffolds for the repair of segmental nerve defects "Biorubber" nerve conduits; biodegradable copolymer nerve conduits with peptide growth factors
Peripheral nerve lacerations or segmental defects Optimizing cell sources and local drug delivery to enhance the repair of segmental nerve defects Allograft tissue with adult stem cells



Optimizing Nerve Conduit Scaffolds for the Repair of Segmental Nerve Defects

In this project, RCCC aims to repair nerve gaps up to four inches long, such as might be caused by severe injury to the limbs. Researchers are testing both natural and synthetic materials to develop 3-dimensional nerve conduit scaffolds, which will foster nerve growth in a severed nerve. These materials include synthetic biodegradable materials and natural nerve scaffolds fabricated from the tissue that surrounds nerves, called sheath tissue. Both the exterior and interior of the conduits may be manipulated to encourage implanted or native cells to regenerate across nerve gaps. The scaffolds are being evaluated for mechanical properties and ability to transmit nerve signals in small animal models prior to prospective clinical trials.


Synthetic nerve conduits are prepared using novel biomaterials and fabrication techniques
Mayo Clinic, Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Anthony Windebank, MD, and Michael Yaszemski, MD, PhD

Cleveland Clinic, Plastic Surgery Research, Director, Maria Siemionow, MD, PhD, DSc
MIT, Department of Chemical Engineering, Langer Lab, Daniel Anderson, PhD, and Robert Langer, DSc

Rutgers, New Jersey Center for Biomaterials, Joachim Kohn, PhD

BonWrx, Inc., Phoenix, AZ



Optimizing Cell Sources and Local Drug Delivery to Enhance the Repair of Segmental Nerve Defects

This project complements the project on Repair of Segmental Nerve Defects that targets new scaffold materials and designs. By optimizing cell sources and local drug delivery, this project focuses on evaluating the introduction of cells for nerve regeneration in a segmental defect, or a damaged section of a nerve. RCCC researchers are examining the role of cells and bioactive molecules in nerve regeneration. These organic components include precursor nerve cells, called mesenchymal cells; supporting cells, called Schwann cells; and molecules such as growth factors. These cells and signaling molecules will be introduced into a nerve conduit scaffold to facilitate the regeneration of a functional nerve.


Nerve conduits are seeded with cells to stimulate nerve growth into the conduit
Mayo Clinic, Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Anthony Windebank, MD, and Michael Yaszemski, MD, PhD

Cleveland Clinic, Plastic Surgery Research, Director, Maria Siemionow, MD, PhD, DSc
MIT, Department of Chemical Engineering, Langer Lab, Daniel Anderson, PhD, and Robert Langer, DSc

BonWrx, Inc., Phoenix, AZ