Copyright Prof. Dr. K. Haastert-Talini

In continuation of the EU-FP7-Project Biohybrid, the group aimed at developing a chitosan nerve tube with optimized properties. As part of the EPINUR project, material modifications were tested to improve the flexibility of the nerve guides. These are of particular interest for use in bridging defects in digital nerves. For the in vivo studies we used our established rat models. Optimized nerve grafts were sutured between the stumps of severed nerves of adult rats (sciatic nerve, median nerve) after acute injury or with a delay of several weeks. A comprehensive functional and histomorphometric evaluation of regeneration parameters followed. Funding 2014-2017: Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) - Funding module for cooperation projects - approx. €175,000.

As part of the NerveMatrix project, the addition of a regenerative hydrogel (guiding regenerative gel, GRG) was investigated. Not only the hydrogel alone was used, but also the transplantation of Schwann cells contained therein. The Schwann cells were isolated from neonatal rats and used either unchanged or after genetic modification. The genetic modification causes the overexpression of the regeneration-promoting protein fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2). The success of regeneration after acute injury and reconstruction of a 15 mm long defect in the sciatic nerve of adult rats was again comprehensively examined functionally and histomorphometrically. Funding  2017-2021: German-Israeli-Foundationcooperation partner Prof. Shimon Rochkind, Prof. Zvi Nevo Tel Aviv - approx. 100,000 €.

The aim of our latest project is to optimally condition peripheral nerves in amputated limbs under ex-vivo perfusion conditions for successful limb replantation (https://www.mhh.de/presse-news/hoffnung-fuer-schwerverletzte-nach-amputation-von-gliedmassen). The investigations are carried out on amputated pig limbs. Funding  2022-2024: by a contract of the German Armed Forces  cooperation partner PD Dr. Bettina Wiegmann, MH Hanoverapprox. €100,000.

At the same time, we would like to investigate how the development of neuropathic pain after traumatic nerve injury can be influenced or prevented.