In severe nerve injuries, major gaps are formed within the tissue and the axons in the spinal cord fail to regenerate. This failure is related to the formation of cystic cavities within the injury site. Unlike healthy extra-cellular matrix, the cavities do not serve as permissive substrates onto which axons can attach and grow. Polymeric scaffolds have been experimentally used in pre-clinical and clinical studies to serve as extra-cellular matrix replacement do not allow prototyping of the injury site. The invention is based on computer aided design, allowing it to be structured according to an individual MRI scan.
The scaffold is highly porous (96%) and the micro topography is constructed by a novel fused deposition modeling pattern where micro-fibers are bridged between anchors to generate an aligned array of micro-channels. Thus, enabling to guide regenerating axons to linear conformations and support growth of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons in vitro and in vivo in a model of spinal cord injury.
- Capable of generating personalized implants for each patient and provide improved properties (porosity, topography)
Applications and Opportunities
- Could be used to deliver stem cell therapy into the injured spinal cord and at the same time form a matrix to support cells
- Can be used to treat severe periphery nerve injuries instead of standard synthetic conduits