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Peripheral nerve Gel-based Orientation (Peripheral nerve injury recovery using Gel-based Orientation)

Project description

An injectable gel for peripheral nerve regeneration

Peripheral nerve damage is currently treated using autologous nerve grafts, artificial bridges and neural tubes, but success is marginal. Scientists of the EU-funded PeriGO project are developing a peripheral nerve repair strategy based on an injectable, biocompatible hydrogel. The main advantage of this approach is that it contains guiding elements and tuneable material properties so when injected, it makes a tight contact with the injured nerve and adopts its shape accordingly. PeriGO will test this innovative approach in a preclinical model of sciatic nerve lesions before proceeding to the clinic.

Objective

PeriGO will pave the way for the commercialization of a unique, first-of-its-kind peripheral nerve repair strategy, as it uses an injectable, biocompatible hydrogel that provides directionality through controlled guiding elements. The properties of the smart material Anisogel, initially developed in the ERC project ANISOGEL to repair spinal cord injuries, provide a sophisticated, superior alternative for peripheral nerve regeneration. The final product can be injected inside a bridging blood vessel or artificial hollow tube after implantation to direct regenerating nerves across the injury site.
PeriGO comprises 3 key actions to advance a quick translation from the laboratory to the clinic: We will 1) establish a sterilization method and a packaging/application system to perform pre-clinical tests, 2) verify the handling and efficacy of the product in a rat sciatic nerve lesion model in cooperation with the Department of Plastic Surgery at the University Hospital in Aachen, and 3) complete a market study and business plan to bring PeriGO into the clinic.
PeriGO addresses essential issues associated with peripheral nerve regeneration. While the current Gold Standard of autologous nerve grafts creates a secondary defect, artificial bridging approaches for nerve gaps only reconnect short distances (< 3 cm) with marginal success. Features absent in the commercially available nerve tubes are guiding structures, controlled degradation, and a good interface with the damaged nerve stumps. The PeriGO platform will overcome these limitations as the material 1) is injected as a liquid to make a tight contact with the injured nerve and to adapt to the shape of the bridging tube before gelation, 2) provides unidirectional guiding elements, and 3) presents tunable material properties with tunable degradation kinetics adjusting to the length of the nerve gap. With PeriGO, we will thus establish the next generation of nerve repair strategies.

Host institution

DWI LEIBNIZ-INSTITUT FUR INTERAKTIVE MATERIALIEN EV
Net EU contribution
€ 120 000,00
Address
FORCKENBECKSTRASSE 50
52074 Aachen
Germany

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Region
Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Städteregion Aachen
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 120 000,00

Beneficiaries (2)