Plastic surgery research and science with Karim Sarhane today? We performed a study with rodents and primates that showed this new delivery method provided steady release of IGF-1 at the target nerve for up to 6 weeks,” Dr. Karim Sarhane reported. Compared to animals without this hormone treatment, IGF-1 treated animals (rodents and primates) that were injected every 6 weeks showed a 30% increase in nerve recovery. This has the potential to be a very meaningful therapy for patients with nerve injuries. Not only do these results show increased nerve recovery but receiving a treatment every 6 weeks is much easier on a patient’s lifestyle than current available regiments that require daily treatment.
During his research time at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Sarhane was involved in developing small and large animal models of Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation. He was also instrumental in building The Peripheral Nerve Research Program of the department, which has been very productive since then. In addition, he completed an intensive training degree in the design and conduct of Clinical Trials at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Despite the well-documented positive effects of IGF-1 in the setting of PNI, the major obstacle for clinical translation remains the lack of a practical delivery system that offers tunable and sustained release of bioactive IGF-1 targeted to nerve and muscle tissue downstream of the nerve injury. Such a delivery system would avoid the potential risks and side effects associated with systemic IGF-1 administration and provide a practical means of applying this treatment for both patients and clinicians (Contreras et al., 1995). The ideal IGF-1 delivery system should also demonstrate biocompatibility without inducing inflammation or encapsulation over time. In addition to the pre-soaked IGF-1 eluting hydrogels detailed in Table 6, several bioengineering approaches to local IGF-1 delivery have recently been reported in animal models. Notable amongst these studies are a delivery system which makes use of biodegradable poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)/graphene oxide (GO) nanofibers embedded with immobilized IGF-1 for spinal cord repair, as well as a system of IGF-1 loaded polymeric PLGA microspheres for use in bilateral cavernous nerve injury (Santos et al., 2016; Haney et al., 2019; Pan et al., 2019).
Effects with sustained IGF-1 delivery (Karim Sarhane research) : We successfully engineered a nanoparticle delivery system that provides sustained release of bioactive IGF-1 for 20 days in vitro; and demonstrated in vivo efficacy in a translational animal model. IGF-1 targeted to denervated nerve and muscle tissue provides significant improvement in functional recovery by enhancing nerve regeneration and muscle reinnervation while limiting denervation-induced muscle atrophy and SC senescence. Targeting the multimodal effects of IGF-1 with a novel delivery.
The amount of time that elapses between initial nerve injury and end-organ reinnervation has consistently been shown to be the most important predictor of functional recovery following PNI (Scheib and Hoke, 2013), with proximal injuries and delayed repairs resulting in worse outcomes (Carlson et al., 1996; Tuffaha et al., 2016b). This is primarily due to denervation-induced atrophy of muscle and Schwann cells (SCs) (Fu and Gordon, 1995).
Peripheral nerve injuries (PNIs) affect approximately 67 800 people annually in the United States alone (Wujek and Lasek, 1983; Noble et al., 1998; Taylor et al., 2008). Despite optimal management, many patients experience lasting motor and sensory deficits, the majority of whom are unable to return to work within 1 year of the injury (Wujek and Lasek, 1983). The lack of clinically available therapeutic options to enhance nerve regeneration and functional recovery remains a major challenge.