RCCC Limb Salvage and Regeneration Soft Tissue Projects

Clinical Challenges Project Proposed Therapies
Injury to blood vessels Tissue lined biodegradable stent graft for arterial injuries Tissue-lined bioabsorbable polymeric stent graft
Large tendon and muscle defects; significant meniscal deficiency Functional scaffolds for soft tissue repair Fascia lata reinforced with biodegradable polymers; collagen scaffold reinforced with biodegradable polymers

Tissue Lined Biodegradable Stent Graft for Arterial Injuries

When arteries and veins undergo trauma, stent grafts can help in the short term to bridge the injury and prevent excess bleeding.   RCCC researchers are working to develop a bioabsorbable tissue lined stent graft for minimally invasive treatment of severe blood vessel injuries. The stent graft spans the injury and degrades over time as the injury heals. This hybrid technology of tissue and stent is designed to support the vessels for 3-6 months while cells repopulate to create regenerated healthy arterial tissues.  The healed arteries re-establish necessary blood flow to other tissues and organs without the need for a permanent fixture in the blood vessels.

Stent graft prototype
Cleveland Clinic, Department of Vascular Surgery, Timur Sarac, MD

Functional Scaffolds for Soft Tissue Repair

The overall goal of the following projects is to develop connective tissue scaffolds for repair of injured soft tissue, such as in extremity wounds where there is a need to bridge massive tendon, articular cartilage, and muscle defects.

Functional Scaffolds for Musculoskeletal Repair and Delivery of Therapeutic Agents:


RCCC researchers are investigating natural extracellular matrix (ECM) as a scaffold for this purpose. They are using human connective tissue called fascia lata ECM because it has the ability to withstand the high functional demands of the tendon and muscle. Dr. Kathleen Derwin and her team are developing a novel technique to reinforce the ability of the fascia to retain sutures. Next, they impregnate the scaffolds with biological molecules to enhance healing and reduce inflammation.


Functional Scaffolds for Soft Tissue Repair and Joint Preservation:


Another RCCC team is creating a substitute for the meniscus, a pad of cartilage-type tissue that forms a cushion within the knee joint. They are testing a novel construction made of synthetic biomaterial fibers in a preclinical model. The overall goal is to develop an off-the-shelf clinical device that can be implanted at the site of meniscal resection and result in knee joint preservation. The clinical role of the device is two-fold: (1) to provide symptom relief and rapid return of function for active military personnel, and (2) to prevent progression to degenerative knee arthritis that commonly requires costly total knee replacement surgery later in life.

Reinforced Tissue Graft
Cleveland Clinic, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Research Center, Kathleen Derwin, PhD

Photograph of hybrid collagen and tyrosine-based poly(DTDDD) fiber scaffold used for meniscus replacement in a sheep model

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Charles Gatt, MD and Michael Dunn, PhD