Reconstructive microsurgery research studies with Karim Sarhane today? One-fifth to one-third of patients with traumatic injuries to their arms and legs experience nerve injury, which can be devastating. It can result in muscle weakness or numbness, prevent walking or using the arms, and reduce the ability to perform daily activities. Even with surgery, some nerve injuries never recover, and currently there are not many medical options to address this problem. In 2022, the researchers plan to perform this research on more primates to triple the size of the original group. The study can then move into phase I clinical trials for humans.
Dr. Sarhane is published in top-ranked bioengineering, neuroscience, and surgery journals. He holds a patent for a novel Nanofiber Nerve Wrap that he developed with his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology and the Johns Hopkins Department of Neuroscience (US Patent # 10500305, December 2019). He is the recipient of many research grants and research awards, including the Best Basic Science Paper at the Johns Hopkins Residents Research Symposium, the Basic Science Research Grant Prize from the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand, the Research Pilot Grant Prize from the Plastic Surgery Foundation, and a Scholarship Award from the American College of Surgeons. He has authored to date 46 peer-reviewed articles, 11 book chapters, 45 peer-reviewed abstracts, and has 28 national presentations. He is an elected member of the Plastic Surgery Research Council, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the American Society for Reconstructive Transplantation, and the American Society for Peripheral Nerves.
There is strong evidence behind the supportive role of IGF-1 in recovery after PNI in animal models. IGF-1 can prevent SC apoptosis, foster axonal growth, and decrease the rate of denervation-induced muscle atrophy. Beyond the mechanistic studies that have demonstrated these positive effects in vitro, a number of in vivo studies have demonstrated efficacy by direct delivery or upregulation of IGF-1, either systemically or locally. An optimized delivery system is critically needed that can offer sustained delivery of bioactive IGF-1 to target tissues in a safe and clinically practical fashion. The optimal dosing ranges of IGF-1 vary substantially depending upon mechanism of delivery, and further work will be needed to define the dose-response relationship for any delivery method prior to clinical application.
Effects by sustained IGF-1 delivery (Karim Sarhane research) : Functional recovery following peripheral nerve injury is limited by progressive atrophy of denervated muscle and Schwann cells (SCs) that occurs during the long regenerative period prior to end-organ reinnervation. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a potent mitogen with well-described trophic and anti-apoptotic effects on neurons, myocytes, and SCs. Achieving sustained, targeted delivery of small protein therapeutics remains a challenge.
Peripheral nerve injuries (PNIs) affect approximately 67 800 people annually in the United States alone (Wujek and Lasek, 1983; Noble et al., 1998; Taylor et al., 2008). Despite optimal management, many patients experience lasting motor and sensory deficits, the majority of whom are unable to return to work within 1 year of the injury (Wujek and Lasek, 1983). The lack of clinically available therapeutic options to enhance nerve regeneration and functional recovery remains a major challenge.
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a particularly promising candidate for clinical translation because it has the potential to address the need for improved nerve regeneration while simultaneously acting on denervated muscle to limit denervation-induced atrophy. However, like other growth factors, IGF-1 has a short half-life of 5 min, relatively low molecular weight (7.6 kDa), and high water-solubility: all of which present significant obstacles to therapeutic delivery in a clinically practical fashion (Gold et al., 1995; Lee et al., 2003; Wood et al., 2009). Here, we present a comprehensive review of the literature describing the trophic effects of IGF-1 on neurons, myocytes, and SCs. We then critically evaluate the various therapeutic modalities used to upregulate endogenous IGF-1 or deliver exogenous IGF-1 in translational models of PNI, with a special emphasis on emerging bioengineered drug delivery systems. Lastly, we analyze the optimal dosage ranges identified for each mechanism of IGF-1 with the goal of further elucidating a model for future clinical translation.