U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, US Army Institute of Surgical Research
||Fort Sam Houston, TX 782346315
|Christy, Robert John
Our laboratory uses stem cell-based therapies to repair and regenerate tissues and/or organs to treat a wide array of skin and soft tissue wounds. Our research involves a systematic investigation integrating both basic and applied research programs, of cell differentiation and regeneration, to understand the pathophysiology of burn trauma injuries using cellular, molecular, and biochemical analysis. Currently, the clinical treatment of soft tissue injuries and specifically burn trauma face the challenge of poor regenerative potential and inferior function after repair, which can lead to extended rehabilitation, multiple surgical procedures, and possibly permanent disabilities. From a clinical standpoint, the degree and nature of burn injury determines the need for tissue-grafting or tissue substitutes. Recent advances in tissue engineering based wound dressings have resulted in the emergence of a range of dermal, epidermal, and even complete skin equivalents. In the case of extensive burn injuries, patients require extensive skin grafting which causes donor site morbidity and can be limited by the availability of uninjured sites. In order to improve the current standard of care, we are (1) using adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs), which will result in an autograft with no immune complications; (2) developing dermal equivalents that induce ASCs to differentiate towards vascular and dermal cells via properties of the scaffolds; and (3) integrating an epithelial cell sheet, developed from ASCs. In vitro methods and techniques used in these studies include stem cell isolation using clinically applicable point-of-care technologies, expansion of cells using cell culture, cell differentiation using specific growth factors and hormones, semi-quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, ELISA, immunoblotting, immunohistological staining, as well as methods for biomaterial development, preparation, and analysis. Promising treatments are then translated into clinically relevant animal models (e.g., rat, pig) of traumatic burn injury to determine the effectiveness of the treatment (e.g., wound healing, scarring). These pre-clinical animal studies will then be translated into the clinic for therapy of burn injuries and soft tissue trauma. This stem cell-biomaterial strategy is expected to provide an environment for the formation of blood vessels within the matrices, which will increase the viability and survival of the construct, thus facilitating its integration to the host and improve/hasten healing with less scarring resulting in an increase in function to soldiers.
Natesan S, et al: Stem Cells 29: 1219, 2011
Natesan S, et al: Tissue Engineering Part A 17: 941, 2011
Biomaterials; Wound healing; Burn wounds; Adipose derived stem cells; Tissue engineering; Tissue regeneration; Skin; Vascularization;