Musculoskeletal trauma is frequently accompanied by injury to the peripheral nerves, and this type of injury can lead to significant dysfunction and disability if the nerves are not repaired. Nerves have the ability to regenerate and to reconnect across a gap, but surgical intervention is often required to assist them in the process. Typically, surgeons will transplant a less important nerve from elsewhere in the body to the site of injury to provide a patch for the injured nerve. However, acceptable donor nerves are often not available for this purpose, particularly in patients with injuries in multiple extremities or traumatic amputations. An alternative approach is to use a synthetic nerve guide, although these devices are only effective over distances less than 3 cm. We have developed a novel peripheral nerve graft that provides better guidance for the microstructure of the nerve to bridge the gap, and we will use this device in combination with stem cells that promote wound healing harvested from damaged tissues at the site of injury. In this study, we propose three specific aims: (1) Optimize the fabrication of our device for use by an orthopaedic surgeon, (2) verify the wound healing properties of our cell type on the graft using laboratory experiments, and (3) validate our device by determining how well it can regenerate a damaged peripheral nerve in a rabbit. Based on our preliminary studies, we expect that this device will provide a wider range of repair strategies for orthopaedic surgeons to treat the wounded warfighters.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/09 → 31/12/09|
- U.S. Department of Defense: $313,643.00