Plastic scaffolds have formed the foundation for new tracheas that were successfully transplanted into patients who lost theirs following car accidents.
Nanofiber Solutions of Columbus, OH, designed and built the nanofiber laryngotracheal scaffolds to match the size of each patient’s natural larynx and trachea. Once the scaffold was built, the patients then needed human tissue to go around it. The source of the tissue came from stem cells taken from the patient’s bone marrow, reports Plastics Today.
Harvard Bioscience of Holliston, MA, developed a bioreactor to seed the scaffold with the stem cells. Because the tissue came from the patients’ own stem cells, their bodies accepted the transplants without needing immunosuppressive drugs.
“Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are exciting fields that hold much promise for effective medical solutions,” says Ross Kayuha, CEO of Nanofiber Solutions. “Our nanofiber scaffolds provide an innovative and ideal platform to create an array of new clinical solutions.”
Ohio State University licenses its technology to the company. The university’s cell culture products use polymer nanofibers to simulate the 3-D structure of human tissue.
The surgeries to implant the tracheas took place in Russia. The patients were a 33-year-old woman from St. Petersburg and a 28-year-old man from Rostov-on-Don. Both were in automobile accidents, which damaged their throats. Previous surgeries to repair the damage failed. After the operations, both patients were reported to be able to speak and breathe normally.
Nanofiber Solutions uses polycaprolactone in its scaffolds, which range in thickness from 200 -700µm. The nanofibers can be either fully degradable or permanent, depending on the polymer used. The company is working on developing other hollow organs, such as intestines, blood vessels, and kidneys.
The Russian operations represent the first and second successful use of synthetic laryngotracheal implants. The procedure was the second and third successful organ implants using plastic scaffolds this year.
Source: “Ohio company engineers plastic scaffolds for successful implants,” Plastics Today, 8/29/12
Image by Mikael Haggstrom.
Dale McGeehon has been a journalist and editor for more than 25 years, covering chemical regulation and testing for Pesticides and Toxic Chemical News and innovations in material sciences for the National Technology Transfer Center. His writing credits include Omni and College Park magazines and The New York Times.