Gullbrand Laboratory

Intervertebral Disc Tissue Engineering

Low back pain, most commonly caused by degeneration of the intervertebral discs, places a significant social and economic burden on the general public. Current clinical treatments for disc degeneration, including spinal fusion, are limited in that they do not restore healthy disc structure or function. To overcome this limitation, our group has been developing a whole, tissue engineered endplate-modified disc-like angle ply structure (eDAPS) composed of engineered annulus fibrosus, nucleus pulposus, and endplate regions. These projects focus on the creation of a living biomaterial capable of restoring intervertebral disc function upon implantation into a degenerative environment. Components of this work include:

  1. Fostering the development of a robust vascularized, boney interface between the implanted eDAPS and the vertebral bodies
  2. Assessing the use of cell types and cell sources for the seeding of the eDAPS constructs
  3. Evaluating the long-term function of a tissue-engineered disc replacement that is subjected to physiologic loading in our large animal model


VA RR&D SPiRE - I21 RX003289 - Optimization of engineered endplates to improve in vivo integration of a tissue engineered disc, VA RR&D Merit - I01 RX002274 - Tissue engineered total disc replacement in a large animal model

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