Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Upcoming Seminar: Kacey Marra, 3pm Dec 12th

22 November 2017

Kacey Marra Seminar

Abstract: Peripheral nerve damage is a common outcome in traumatic injuries and is associated with long-term morbidity. The current gold standard of care for the treatment of a peripheral nerve defect is implantation of an autograft, harvested from either the sural or musculocutaneous nerve. This technique has several limitations: it does not typically result in full functional restoration and it can cause significant donor site morbidity, including sensory loss and neuroma formation at the donor site. A promising alternative to autograft is an off-the-self biodegradable poly(caprolactone) nerve guide embedded with polymer microspheres containing glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). After extensive examination of our GDNF-loaded conduit in a rodent sciatic nerve defect model, we have progressed into a non-human primate model. We have examined four treatment groups in a large gap median nerve defect model, and nerve regeneration was followed for one year. Functional, electrophysiological and histological assessment was conducted. Additionally, we examined the distal abductor pollicis brevis muscle for atrophy. Our results indicate that the nerve conduit containing GDNF performed as well as autograft; however, distal muscle atrophy was present, potentially inhibiting full functional recovery. Future work will focus on both the prevention of distal muscle atrophy after nerve injury and clinical translation.

Kacey Marra is an Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Plastic Surgery (Primary), and School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering (Secondary) at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Marra's academic training was in the areas of polymer chemistry, biomaterials and tissue engineering. She is the Director of the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory (since 2002). She is also a core faculty member in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she has served as a member of the Executive Committee since 2004. She has a publication record of 114 peer-reviewed publications, 24 reviews, 14 book chapters, and 4 patents, and over 560 abstracts in the areas of nerve regeneration, adipose stem cells, bioreactors, tissue engineering, and wound healing. Her funding includes NIH, NSF, and DoD grants in the area of regenerative medicine (including the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine, (AFIRM)). She is a member of the CDMRP PRORP Programmatic Panel, and also the Enabling Technology Core Focus Area Leader in AFIRM II. She was Co-Chair of the 2015 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) World Congress, held in Boston. Dr. Marra serves on the editorial board of 4 journals (ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, Cells Tissues Organs, Annals of Plastic Surgery, and the Journal of Tissue Engineering). She also regularly reviews manuscripts for 36 different journals, including Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering, Biomaterials, and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and has been a reviewer for the NIH, DoD and NSF. She is also a proposal reviewer for several international organizations, including the Science Foundation Ireland, Austrian Science Fund, the Singapore Biomedical Research Council, and the Swiss National Science Foundation, among others.