Student project

Selection of a cell carrier for the in vivo delivery of fetal spine cells

Objective: Several cell carriers need to be selected and characterized for their compatibility with fetal cartilaginous cell survival and activity. In order to assess the in vivo regeneration capacity of fetal cartilaginous cells, these cell carriers will be used as a delivery system in an animal model of intervertebral disc degeneration. Background: The intervertebral disc (IVD) is part of the 3-joint complex, which brings flexibility to the spine. In addition, the IVD is a shock absorber and is submitted to variable loads during daily activity. Heighty percent of people will suffer from back pain in their life. Degeneration of the lumbar IVD is though to be one major cause of low back pain. Up to now, there is no treatment for disc degeneration. Conservative cares, medication and surgery alleviate the pain but do not treat the causes. Moreover, fusion surgery (which consists in removing the degenerated IVD and to fuse the two adjacent vertebrae) can lead to further degeneration by destabilizing the whole spine. IVD degeneration is a complex process. The primary causes are unknown but it is well-established that disc cells are unable to produce enough matrix in degenerated conditions. The overall goal of the project is to regenerate the IVD by injecting "active" cells. The choice of these cells is an important point. Two sources of cells have already been selected according to several criteria. The next step of the project consists in selecting an appropriate cell delivery system to be test the regeneration potential of the selected fetal cells in an animal model of IVD degeneration.


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