Current methods in peripheral nerve regeneration research
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of the Military Medicine, Inc. and The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Dr. Jariwala is an Assistant Professor with the Regenerative Rehabilitation Medical Research Program, Department of…
Peripheral nerve injury (PNI) remains a common and challenging clinical problem affecting civilians as well as the military population, due to a higher incidence of combat-related injuries. In particular, penetrating trauma from bullets or shrapnel often causes the transection of nerves. If a nerve is completely transected, the functional recovery is generally poor. Existing therapies which include end-to-end nerve repair, nerve grafts or artificial grafts are limited especially for transections of significant size (>3 cm), since any stretching of nerves can lead to scarring, which prevents neural regeneration. Combinatorial approaches seem to be emerging as a potential solution to tackle this challenge. This methods collection aims to provide an outlook into potential combinatorial approaches that would help engineer and enhance peripheral nerve repair. The scope of the collection includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:
- Regenerative Rehabilitation approaches for nerve repair – combining rehabilitation strategies (e.g., exercise, electrical stimulation, etc.) with regenerative therapies (e.g., stem cell therapy, growth factors, biologics, etc.)
- Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) and vascularization strategies – Combining low level light therapy (LLLT) strategies with regenerative approaches (biologics, conduits) to improve nerve repair and vascularization at the site of injury.
- Multifunctional nerve conduits fabricated using combinatorial approaches including 3D bioprinting, which also accommodate nerve vasculature and other physiological features relevant to nerve architecture.
- Pre-clinical models for large-gap nerve repair (> 3cm gaps).
- Gene Therapy in combination with nerve guides.