Figure 1. He Shen and co-workers review the current status, recent advances, challenges, and prospects of scaffold-based SCI repair from basic to clinical settings, which provides a reference for further exploring new strategies for spinal cord regeneration. (Image by IGDB)
The regenerative medicine center directed by Prof. DAI Jianwu from Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has long been committed to the investigation and clinical translation of spinal cord regeneration, and has achieved international attentions. Recently, DAI’s group has been invited by Joern Ritterbusch, Editor-in-Chief of Advanced Functional Materials, to publish a review article entitled "Advances in Biomaterial-Based Spinal Cord Injury Repair" (https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202110628).
They systematically summarized the latest progress in the research field of spinal cord injury regeneration and repair, looks forward to the challenges and future development trends in this research field, and provides important guidance for spinal cord regeneration research and translation applications in clinic.
In recent years, reconstruction of regenerative microenvironment and promotion of neural regeneration based on biomaterials have become one of the most promising and attracting areas of spinal cord injury treatment. By focusing on the pathophysiological dynamic changes and inhibitory injury microenvironment after spinal cord injury, this review deeply explores the potential mechanism of spinal cord regeneration, and provides theoretical basis and guidance for the development of efficient treatment strategies. Comprehensive approaches based on biomaterials could provide topographical, biophysical, biochemical cues to regulate both intrinsic regeneration of neurons and extrinsic microenvironment to promote SCI repair.
Prof. DAI's group has proved that implanting specific functionalized biomaterials in the lesion area can enhance axon regeneration and promote the neuronal circuit generation by remodeling the spinal cord injury microenvironment. The research team explored the replacement of the structure and function of damaged neural tissue by transplanting adult spinal cord tissue, which is a new strategy to treat spinal cord injury.
They also reported the clinical investigations of the collagen neural regeneration scaffold products (NeuroRegen Scaffold) which are developed by Prof. DAI's research team and have independent intellectual property rights in the treatment of spinal cord injury and exhibiting great potential in clinic.
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Figure 2. Research history of the transplantation of spinal cord tissue grafts for spinal cord injury repair. (Image by IGDB)
Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences