UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have developed a novel hydrogel that aids in neuronal regeneration post stroke or disease.
Stroke is currently the most prevalent neurological disease, with up to 200,000 new cases in the U.S. alone. While new treatments have aided in declining mortality rates from stroke, chronic and disabling symptoms often remain. Post-trauma or disease, the brain undergoes a repair process by recruiting neuronal progenitor cells (NPC) to the site of injury; however, many of these cells never make it to their target because of scar tissue formation. While many treatments exist to prevent subsequent strokes, few help with the neuronal repair process and chronic symptoms. The development of a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of stroke or other debilitating neuronal diseases would revolutionize post-stroke and neurological disease care management.
Professor Tatiana Segura and colleagues at UCLA have developed a novel hydrogel therapy for the recruitment of NPCs. This novel hydrogel composition is injected into the stroke/disease cavity resulting in a reduced inflammatory response and migration of NPCs into the cavity. Additionally, these hydrogels are formulated to mimic the brain environment and stiffness, and also taking shape and molding to the defect area. This innovation is currently the only hydrogel or material that can promote migration of these brain recovery NPCs to the stroke cavity.
The novel hydrogel formulation has been tested in a mouse model for stroke and demonstrated a reduced inflammatory response and scar thickness, and promoted NPC recruitment to the stroke cavity.
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