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Conjoint Grant - 2020

Self-assembling cellular nerve bridges for repair of peripheral nerve injuries
Associate Professor Jenny Ekberg & Doctor Brent McMonagle

Project Description

This project will accelerate development of a novel therapeutic cellular nerve bridge technology to repair large-gap peripheral nerve injuries. Traumatic injuries or diseases of peripheral nerves can cause extensive damage and are difficult to repair using current surgical approaches. The consequences are that patients endure permanent paralysis and are unable to move or feel the affected region. Damage to facial nerves are particularly devastating as loss of facial expression can negatively affect social interactions.

We have invented a new technology to rapidly generate large branched cellular nerve bridges using a patient’s own cells. Critically, the nerve bridges are made entirely from cells without any artificial components which make them eminently suitable for transplantation in humans to repair peripheral nerve injuries. The nerve bridges replicate the cellular composition and layering of peripheral nerves and they are suitable for repairing large-gap (more than 15mm) and/or branched peripheral nerve injuries.

The project will optimise the production of personalised nerve bridges that match human nerves and produce pre-clinical data for future human clinical trials.

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