That led to the partnership between Butler's lab and the lab of Christopher Wylie, PhD, professor and director of the division of developmental biology at CCHMC.
"We want to understand how the tendon normally develops," says Butler, "because we might then be able to introduce or precondition these TECs biologically in a way that's even more effective than what we've done using mechanical stimulation. We actually hope to introduce some of these signals that we measure during growth and development during the repair process that occurs after injury in the adult tendon."
Using multi-functional tissue engineering, Butler and Wylie will identify which genes and signaling pathways are expressed at different stages of normal tendon development.
Then, they will work to experimentally manipulate the expression of those target genes and signals in TECs prior to introducing them at surgery.
They hope that the research will not only lead to better TECs for soft tissue repair, but a maturation of tissue engineering principles that can be applied for bone or cartilage repair.
In order to share those principles, Butler and Wylie will present their work to a consortium of clinical and basic science investigators as well as an industry panel at a one-day conference at UC in April.
"These BRPs are not about just doing fundamental research," Butler says, "they're about translating that research to more rapidly bring treatments to patients."
|Contact: Katy Cosse|
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center