BME Seminar Series: Dr. Lori A. Setton

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
8:30 a.m.

Goergen Hall 101 (Sloan Auditorium)

Regenerative Medicine and the Pathological Intervertebral Disc

Lori A. Setton, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Duke University

Abstract: Low back pain now ranks as #1 for disease impact in the USA, due in part to intervertebral disc disorders that contribute to pain and disability in millions of affected individuals.  Pathological processes for resident cells of the intervertebral disc, the nucleus pulposus cells, contribute to a dysfunctional production of inflammatory cytokines and premature cell death that can drive loss of intervertebral disc height, tissue destruction and herniation.  Inflammatory cytokines produced by resident cells and recruited monocytes are known to mediate the painful symptoms of intervertebral disc herniation, although systemic treatment with inflammatory antagonists (e.g., tumor necrosis factor “blockers”) has failed to date.  Our laboratory has developed in situ forming drug depots for local delivery of “TNF blockers” and other inflammatory antagonists to increase drug residence time and bioactivity in the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation.  Our laboratory has also advanced knowledge of environmental cues that are necessary to maintain healthy, biosynthetically active nucleus pulposus cells, factors that can be manipulated to attenuate inflammatory cytokine expression, promote matrix biosynthesis, and control progenitor cell differentiation.  In this talk, we will describe our work with engineering substrates and protein-conjugated biomaterials to deliver cells to the disc, and drugs to the perineural space, for regeneration purposes.