In course of the 15th International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases in Vienna David Hercher, scientist at the LBI Trauma, was giving insights on how innovative research will improve the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries.
David and his team aim at improving the patient’s quality of life by enabling faster recovery and reducing the invasiveness of surgical procedures. He presented two main targets of research: accelerating nerve regeneration and encouraging reinnervation. In both areas the LBI Trauma is achieving successes. New studies with extracorporeal shockwave therapy demonstrate enhanced regeneration of injured nerves. A novel nerve conduit made of silk fibroin poses an alternative to autologous nerve transplants for bridging peripheral nerve defects (as seen on this 3D animation of a CT scan), with mechanical and biological features that promote cellular ingrowth and tissue regeneration. Preclinical studies have demonstrated its successful application.
Moreover, the importance of nerve gliding was highlighted. A decline of the gliding properties of nerves due to scar tissue formation after injury causes chronic pain to the patient. Experts from the LBI Trauma are developing ways to counteract this, for example by applying human amnion as lubricating layer.
All these innovative approaches could easily be integrated into everyday clinical practice and help reduce the need for repeated microsurgical procedures.