Menu Close

University of Pittsburgh Scientists Develop New Method to Regenerate Damaged Nerves


The eight year long study is encouraging news for those suffering with nerve damage. In the U.S., there are about 600,000 nerve injuries every year. More than half of injured soldiers suffer nerve injuries. Now, University of Pittsburgh scientists have found an effective method to help in repair and regeneration of these nerves. By inserting a biodegradable tube that releases a growth factor protein called ‘glial-cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), for several months. The tube actively works as a guide for the nerve to grow along the correct path, and the naturally occurring protein induces the nerve to grow faster than previous methods. The new device restored nearly 80 percent of function. The tube is made of the same polymer as dissolvable stitches, which is already federally approved for surgical use.


Christine Schmidt, a professor and chair of the department of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida:

“It will still be a challenge to scale up to larger nerves,” … “If you get a nerve injury like a paper cut, the cells in your nerves are going to express this protein at high levels. And that recruits other cells to come in and repair the nerve.” … “They’re doing it in a very realistic way that can lead to a clinical outcome, and that’s really what you want,”


To see the study that served as the source for this article can be found in the ‘Science Translational Medicine’ journal, click here.