Biomedical Engineering Embedding Stem Cells in Sutures

Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students recently received first prize in the university’s Design Day 2009 competition for the demonstration of a practical method to place a patient’s adult stem cells into sutures. Sutures (for instance Ethicon suture Covidien suture, Autosuture) is the surgical needle that is used to close wounds by doctors. Suture needles are used to sew sutures to the tissue.

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This specific technique that embeds adult stem cells in surgical thread was created to treat severe orthopedic injuries like ruptured tendon. The goal of this technique is to improve the healing process by decreasing inflammation and speeding up healing through the release of growth factor proteins. The chance of re-injury will be decreased as well. Since the cells come directly from patients, reject will not be a problem. So far preliminary test results are promising-indications show that the cells attached to the sutures survive the wound closure process and keep the ability to become replacement tissue such as cartilage.

The project was a series of phases. Bioactive Surgical was the corporate patron who invented the patent-pending idea of the suture-based embedding of cells and then arranged for the student group to conduct the tests. In the beginning, the team required a tool capable of producing sutures that would ensure the viability of the cells as well as efficiently deliver them to the tissue. Students from the undergraduate level working in conjunction with orthopedic surgeons, began to test stem cell sutures on animals in the hope that stem cells would greatly speed up and speed up your healing. Students also dealt with aspects like the preparation of grant applications for additional funds.

The procedure could be as follows: The doctor would collect stem cells from bone marrow that is found in the hip of the patient, insert stem cells in the new suture by an exclusive process that stitches the injured area using normal suture needles that are specially designed sutures.

Currently tendon repair surgeries are performed using sutures that are conventional, including those of the brand names Ethicon suture Covidien suture Autosuture or using the Ethicon products for wound closure.