Israeli team spurs nerve healing with implant-released gel

Two nerves are healed by a connecting implant and gel.--Courtesy of Tel Aviv University

A team of researchers at Tel Aviv University has developed a biodegradable implant that delivers a gel capable of restoring healthy nerve function to treat diseases such as Parkinson's.

Using a method lead scientist Shimon Rochkind says is only a few years away from clinical use, the implant makes use of a guiding regeneration gel that heals torn or damaged nerves, according to a release from the university. Nerves, once damaged, are very slow to recover if they do at all under normal circumstances.

The implant is a biodegradable tube that connects two nerve endings, and the gel that lines the inside of the tube induces growth of the nerve, reconnecting the severed ends. The gel, made up of antioxidants, synthetic laminin and hyaluronic acid, acts on the nerve the way the environment in a mother's womb nurtures a fetus.

The Israeli scientists from the university's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry have completed animal tests and have begun using the gel as a stand-alone product for cell therapy.

- here's the release