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Engineer develops detergent to promote peripheral nerve healing
Date:6/10/2008

afts are able to bridge long nerve gaps, provide a three-dimensional pathway supporting nerve regeneration and are easily bendable because they are human nerve harvested from tissue donors, making it easier for surgeons to handle.

"This method has broader applicability," Schmidt says. "Formerly a patient's only option was to use their own nerve or the completely synthetic grafts."

By using the detergent solution, the donor nerve is stripped of the cellular lipid components, which causes the immune rejection response when implanted. Schmidt's laboratory spent four years developing the solution to be strong enough to remove rejection-inducing factors, but mild enough to preserve the delicate physical architecture of the nerve essential for regeneration. The resulting tolerated transplanted nerve provides a type of scaffolding that serves as a bridge between the two ends of the severed nerve to promote regrowth. And because the immunogenic lipid components have been extracted, patients don't require immunosuppressant drugs.

AxoGen learned about the detergent processing work in Schmidt's lab, licensed it and combined it with the University of Florida enzyme treatment that removes other regrowth inhibiting factors, creating the AVANCE product.

"So they've taken something from our lab that works really well and made it work even better," Schmidt says.

Schmidt now is conducting spinal-cord lab testing in animals using detergent-treated peripheral nerve grafts. She is working with post-doctoral fellow Zin Khaing, a central nervous system expert.


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Contact: Christine Schmidt
schmidt@che.utexas.edu
512-471-1690
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

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