University of Wyoming Background
When peripheral nerves are bisected from injury or disease, a bridging device is placed in the gap to promote regeneration. Allografts of nerves harvested from donors work very well as bridging devices and strongly stimulate regeneration of nerves. Unfortunately, this method is often not used due to the associated need for systemic immunosuppressive therapy. What is needed in the field is a means of limiting immunosuppression to graft targets.
Researchers at the University of Wyoming have found a way to circumvent the costs and risks of systemic immunosuppression by developing a method to localize said therapy to the immediate area of a tissue graft. Immunosuppression is created by delivering immunosuppressive cell types to the area of the grafted peripheral nerve by injection into the tissue. The injected cells then inhibit immune responses (which could compromise graft success) by continuing their natural regulatory signaling to nearby tissues. Cells might also be injected into the musculature in the vicinity of the nerve graft, but not actually onto the graft itself, to provide a similar or equivalent effect.
Peripheral nerve regeneration is often the limiting component of a healthy recovery, and poor regeneration leads to functional motor impairment and alterations in sensory function, ranging from loss of sensation to allodynia (increased pain) and paresthesia (abnormal tingling or prickling). Hundreds of thousands of peripheral nerve injuries requiring surgical intervention occur every year in the US military and civilian populations. Therefore, the potential positive effects of improving nerve graft outcomes cannot be overstated.
With further development, this technology could provide a substantial improvement to outcomes for medical procedures involving repair of peripheral nerves.
For use after medical procedures involving repair of peripheral nerves.
The university seeks a licensing partner to lead the development and commercialization of this promising medical technology
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