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Freeze-dried tendon implants prove effective in early studies
Date:1/8/2008

rnatives. Theoretically, such materials would guide damaged tissue as it reorganizes into healthy tendon without causing an immune reaction. They could be coated with anti-inflammatory drugs, growth factors or gene therapy vectors to drive healing and reduce swelling. Unfortunately, artificial grafts too failed to yield useful tendon substitutes because they did not match the mechanical strength of human tissue.

In the newly published study, a research team from the University of Rochester Medical Center explored yet another option: the implantation of allografts (donated, freeze-dried tendon) loaded with gene therapy. Their results show that the allografts served as effective tissue-engineered scaffolds, with significantly fewer adhesions than seen with autografts. The allografts also sucked up, and delivered into the graft site, a solution of gene therapy vectors that directed the recipients cells to accept the graft and remodel it into living tissue.

Orthopaedic surgeons have been searching for the perfect material to replace tendon, one with the right mix of strength and elasticity and would not cause adhesion, said Hani Awad, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics within the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the Medical Center. We believe the only material to meet these strict requirements is non-living, but structurally intact tendon. We were surprised to find that no one had tried combining it with gene therapy or other drug delivery techniques to overcome its limitations, said Awad, also senior author of the study.

Study Details

Tendon, like bone and cartilage, is connective tissue made up of tough protein fibers. The quality that enables tendon allografts to overcome past limitations is that such connective tissues naturally contain depots designed to hold signaling molecules. In the current study, tissue engineers filled those depots with gene delivery vectors.

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Contact: Greg Williams
Greg_Williams@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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