Innovative Polymer-Based Neurological Device to Treat Spinal Cord Injury

THE INNOVATION

NBM has developed an innovative implantable device, SPINEREP, for the functional repair of post-traumatic spinal cord injuries using a tissue engineering approach, which targets the restoration of damaged nerve networks responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses.
 
NBM's know-how and intellectual property are based on a patented polymer-shaping technology. SPINEREP is a flexible and porous biocompatible polymer biomaterial which, once surgically positioned at the level of the spinal lesion, allows the regrowth of nerve fibers and their connections by playing the role of a three-dimensional scaffold.

The regeneration of nerve fibers is made possible by introducing a macromolecular scaffolding at the site of the lesion.  The implantation of this biomaterial therefore serves as a growth-permissive matrix for endogenous cell migration, which promotes the growth of blood vessels while facilitating axonal passage across the lesion.

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SPINEREP Hydrogel

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PATENTED TECHNOLOGY

NBM holds the "Hybrid Heterogeneous Hydrogel and its Therapeutic Use" patent, which was developed by Dr. Stéphane Woerly and which protects the SPINEREP technology.
 
NBM is continuously working through global connections to protect the intellectual property of its inventions, with numerous patents pending that can be applied to multiple therapeutic indications in regenerative medicine.

THE TECHNOLOGY:

Reconnecting Brain and Body

 


NBM's proprietary and revolutionary SPINEREP is a macromolecular polymer gel constructed of a network of chemically-crosslinked polymer chains. It shows a vast interconnected porous network for neural tissue remodelling, regeneration of spinal neural tracts and rewiring of the nervous circuitry.

The tissue-building properties of SPINEREP rely on the following characteristics:

 

  • Its high porosity (90% void volume)
     

  • Its three-dimensional, interconnected, multi-porosity architecture (from a few microns up to 300 microns)
     

  • Its large surface area-to-volume ratio
     

  • Its viscoelastic properties that match that one of neural tissue
     

  • Its highly cohesive strength that provides a mechanically stable framework under physiological conditions

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Another feature of the polymer gel lies in its ability to adhere spontaneously to biological tissues, without the need for suturing, which then creates an integrative interface with the neural tissue.

 

Our hydrogel technology is a versatile technological platform for the preparation of functionalized hydrogels. Since biologically-active molecules can be easily coupled to the polymer network, the potential for expansive treatment options across a wide range of clinical conditions opens doors for future medical advancements.

The technology behind SPINEREP (formerly NeuroGel) has been developed over the past 20 years, from basic science in macromolecular chemistry and neurobiology to the discovery stage, then from the functional product on to preclinical studies which provide proof-of-concept.

Aspect of the Spinal Cords
13 Months after Reconstructive Surgery

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KEY PRECLINICAL TEST RESULTS

  • This heterogeneous hydrogel has been successfully tested on animals 

  • Restauration of motor fonction is gradually improved with treadmill training

 

  • Anatomical analysis revealed the regeneration of nerve fibers and new connections 

 

  • Electrophysiological analysis revealed motor-evoked potentials in the hind limbs

 

  • The hydrogel matrix is well-received by the host spinal tissue with no sign of tissue rejection

 

  • It forms a stable bioadhesive substrate across the site of injury that facilitates wound-repair cells to gain access to the site of injury and neural tissue remodeling matrix​