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Enhancing Peripheral Nerve Regeneration with a Novel Drug Delivering Nerve Conduit

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Annual rept. 30 Sep 2013-29 Sep 2014

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This project is directed at improving the rate of nerve regeneration, through the development and testing of a novel nerve conduit. Our technology is a fusion between a biodegradable nerve conduit and a biodegradable drug reservoir. Combat gear for the modern day warrior has greatly improved protection for the head and body, but limbs are still highly exposed to injury. Subsequently, the most frequent combat nerve injuries are in the upper and lower extremities. Patients often suffer from lifelong loss or functional disturbances mediated by the injured nerve, which can severely diminish their quality of life. Autologous nerve grafts serve as the state-of-the-art but numerous challenges associated with this approach results in functional benefits to only 40-50 of patients with the additional consequence of nerve-graft donor site morbidity. This project will explore the use of PLGA poly lactic-co-glycolic acid nerve guide conduits that will act as an axon guide for the regenerating nerve. In addition, a drug delivery device will be incorporated with the PLGA conduit in a concentric fashion to deliver nerve growth factor NGF and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor GDNF for at least 30 days to improve rate of nerve regeneration. The use of PLGA or collagen has been tried previously. These devices typically focus on loading the drug in hydrogels or embedding the drug within the conduit. The shortcomings of current devices in terms of burst effect, non-uniform dosage, and uneven drug delivery, necessitates a new approach to deliver drug for nerve regeneration. The currently proposed design is advantageous, as it will allow for controlled drug release that can be tailored made with the ability to vary the concentration, duration, and rate of release of multiple drugs.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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