2015 Participants
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NAME: Amanda Clark

Engineered Implants for Brain Disorders

There are many disorders in the brain that are associated with the loss of neurons such as Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and stroke. A potential therapeutic course of treatment for these disorders is cell replacement therapy. While many labs propose exogenous cells, our approach includes using endogenous cells which are naturally- occurring cells from within the individual. Endogenous cells may be an effective way to approach the problems related to the loss of neurons without the problems associated with exogenous cells such as immune rejection, tumor formation, and ethical issues. Endogenous cell based treatment includes stimulating and guiding the naturally-occurring neural stem cells into the area of damage where they will develop into mature neurons, thus facilitating an effective treatment.
A cylinder constructed from fibrin and other factors is designed to stimulate the growth of neurons into the designated site. The cylinders are constructed of naturally occurring factors found in the adult brain including stem cell promoting factors, extracellular matrix, plus fibrinogen. When the cylinder is implanted into a rat brain of both naive and hemi-Parkinson rats, the cylinder promotes stem cell migration to the appropriate site and then promotes neurogenesis.