Tech ID: 19083 / UC Case 2003-013-0

Invention Novelty

A microsurgical device for precise cutting and manipulation of damaged axons to reconstitute nerve function.

Value Proposition

Injury to the nervous system can often results in the loss of sensory and motor functions. One approach for restoring axon function and neural circuitry consists of the physical rejoining of the severed axons. A critical step of axon repair requires the removal of the injured ends from axons and rejoining of healthy axon segments, but the absence of surgical tools capable of manipulating structures at the subcellular level is still greatly lacking. Currently, nerve repair surgery is commonly performed using a scalpel and forceps, and these tools often leave axons crushed and distorted. This invention overcomes a major obstacle in axon repair surgery by delivering precise incisions to injured axons.

This novel invention provides the following advantages:

  • Microscale cutting and isolation of axon segments
  • Significantly reduced damage to surrounding axon segments and tissues, resulting in improved molecular repair
  •  A simple surgical tool that is cheap to manufacture
  • Robust surgical tool allows for repeated, progressive cutting
  • Demonstrated biocompatibility of the nanoknife material (silicon nitride)

Technology Description

This technology is a Micro Electromechanical System-based microsurgery device. It is made up of a nanoknife held by a micromanipulator and an overhead microscope is used for visual monitoring during surgery. This tool allows for 50 to 100 μm-long incisions of injured axons for axon grafting and repair without causing damage to the adjacent segments. The nanoknife was highly effective in generating clean cuts in both myelinated and unmyelinated axons, in vitro and in vivo, leading to axon repair and function.

State Of Development


Other Information

Animal data

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 7,895,885 03/01/2011 2003-013

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  • Sretavan, David W.

Other Information


Microsurgery, Axon repair

Categorized As