Orit Shefi is a Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at Bar-Ilan University. She is the head of the Neuro-engineering and Regeneration laboratory and a member of the Bar Ilan Institute of Nanotechnologies and Advanced Materials. In 2005, she earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Physics at Tel-Aviv University. From 2005-2008, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on nanotechnologies for neuronal engineering, 3D platforms for directed neuronal regeneration, magnetic manipulations of cells, and drug delivery tools.
Nerve growth conduits are designed to support and promote axon regeneration following nerve injuries. Multifunctionalized conduits with combined physical and chemical cues, are a promising avenue aimed at overcoming current therapeutic barriers. However, the efficacious assembly of conduits that promote neuronal growth remains a challenge. Here, a biomimetic regenerative gel is developed, that integrates physical and chemical cues in a biocompatible “one pot reaction” strategy. The collagen gel is enriched with magnetic nanoparticles coated with nerve growth factor (NGF). Then, through a remote magnetic actuation, highly aligned fibrillar gel structure embedded with anisotropically distributed coated nanoparticles, combining multiple regenerating strategies, is obtained. The effects of the multifunctional gels are examined in vitro, and in vivo in a 10‐mm rat sciatic nerve injury model. The magneto‐based therapeutic conduits demonstrate oriented and directed axonal growth, and improve nerve regeneration in vivo. The study of multifunctional guidance scaffolds that can be implemented efficiently and remotely provides the foundation to a novel therapeutic approach to overcome current medical obstacles for nerve injuries.
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