Molecular Traumatology

The Molecular Traumatology Group investigates the molecular and cellular bases of clinically relevant questions in musculoskeletal surgery, focusing on pharmacologically exploitable signaling events.

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Photo-crosslinkable cytokine-release system

Photo-crosslinkable cytokine-release system for enhanced bone regeneration

Norman Drzeniek & Paul Köhli, Lena Panse, Nourhan Kahwaji, Sven Geißler, Hans-Dieter Volk, Manfred Gossen, Serafeim Tsitsilonis

The only commercially available drug for the treatment of non-union of long bone fracture, local recombinant BMP-7, was taken off the market due to serious side effects, leaving orthopedic surgeons without any further pharmacological solutions for a challenging pathology. Since then, IGF-1 has been investigated among other cytokines as a promising alternative for bone healing. However, the key limitation of cytokine therapy remains the short in vivo half-life of just a few minutes and so far no alternative to BMP-7 made it to clinical application. To address this issue we want to use a novel type of "in vivo drug factory" that would prolong the release of IGF-1 in vivo but could also be easily assembled during surgery and injected into the fracture gap.

In cooperation with the Volk lab (cell therapy) and the Gossen lab (RNA technology) we are testing implantable constructs that combine transfected MSC with biomaterial vehicles and modulate the release of pro-regenerative cytokines at the healing site. Engineering challenges lie in combining the manufacturing steps of the constructs into a simple procedure that respects the clinical setting and allows for flexible and indication-adapted use.