Technology ID

Cell-Nanofiber Composite and Cell-Nanofiber Composite Amalgam Based Engineered Intervertebral Disc

Lead Inventor
Li, Wan-Ju (NIAMS)
Tuan, Rocky (NIAMS)
Nesti, Leon (NIAMS)
Development Status
Prototype devices have been fabricated and preclinical studies have been performed.
Lead IC
Diseased or damaged musculoskeletal tissues are often replaced by an artificial material, cadaver tissue or donated, allogenic tissue. Tissue engineering offers an attractive alternative whereby a live, natural tissue is generated from a construct made up of a patient’s own cells or an acceptable/compatible cell source in combination with a biodegradable scaffold for replacement of defective tissue.

Degeneration of the intervertebral disc (IVD) is a common and significant source of morbidity in our society. Approximately 8 of 10 adults at some point in their life will experience an episode of significant low back pain, with the majority improving without any formal treatment. However, for the subject requiring surgical management current interventions focus on fusion of the involved IVD levels, which eliminates pain but does not attempt to restore disc function. Approximately 200,000 spinal fusions were performed in the United States in 2002 to treat pain associated with lumbar disc degeneration. Spinal fusion however is thought to significantly alter the biomechanics of the disc and lead to further degeneration, or adjacent segment disease. Therefore, in the past decade there has been mounting interest in the concept of IVD replacement. The replacement of the IVD holds tremendous potential as an alternative to spinal fusion for the treatment of degenerative disc disease by offering a safer alternative to current spinal fusion practices.

At the present time, several disc replacement implants are at different stages of preclinical and clinical testing. These disc replacement technologies are designed to address flexion, extension, and lateral bending motions; however, they do little to address compressive forces and their longevity is limited due to their inability to biointegrate. Therefore, a cell-based tissue engineering approach offers the most promising alternative to replace the degenerated IVD. Current treatment for injuries that penetrate subchondral bone include subchondral drilling, periosteal tissue grafting, osteochondral allografting, chondrogenic cell and transplantation; but are limited due to suboptimal integration with host tissues.

The present invention claims tissue engineered intervertebral discs comprising a nanofibrous polymer hydrogel amalgam having cells dispersed therein, methods of fabricating tissue engineered intervertebral discs by culturing a mixture of stem cells or intervertebral disc cells and a electrospun nanofibrous polymer hydrogel amalgam in a suitable bioreactor, and methods of treatment comprising implantation of tissue engineered intervertebral disc into a subject.
Commercial Applications
  • Intervertebral disc bio-constructs and electrospinning methods for fabrication of the discs.
Licensing Contact:
Specialist (ALS), Admin. Licensing