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Nanomedicine Gives the Way for Nerve Cell Regeneration

sed entirely of aligned nanoscale polymer fibers. These polymer fibers act as physical guides for regenerating nerve fibers.

They have also developed a way to make these aligned nanofibers bioactive by attaching various biochemicals directly onto the surfaces of the nanofibers. Thus, the bioactive aligned nanofiber technology mimics the nerve autograft by providing both physical and biochemical cues to enhance and direct nerve growth.

This technology has been tested by culturing rat nerve tissue ex vivo on our bioactive aligned nanofiber scaffolds. When the nerve tissue was cultured on unaligned nanofibers there was no nerve fiber growth onto the scaffolds. However, on aligned nanofiber scaffolds, they not only observed nerve fibers growing from the tissue but the nerve fibers were aligned in the same orientation as the nanofibers.

Furthermore, when there were biochemicals present on the nanofibers, the nerve fiber growth was enhanced 5 fold. In a matter of just 5 days, nerve fibers had extended 4 millimeters from the nerve tissue in a bipolar fashion on the bioactive aligned nanofiber scaffolds. Thus, this technology can induce, enhance and direct nerve fiber regeneration in a straight and organized manner.

In order to make the technology clinically viable, they have also developed a novel graft fabrication technology in their laboratory. The most common method for fabricating polymer nanofibers is to use an electrical field to "spin" very thin fibers. This technique is called electrospinning and can be used to make nanofiber scaffolds in various shapes such as sheets and tubes. They have made a key innovation to this technology that enables us to fabricate tubular nerve grafts composed entirely of polymer nanofibers aligned along the length of tubes.

This technology also allows customization of the length, diameter and thickness of the aligned tubular nanofiber grafts. The group will evaluate th
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