Dr.Jared Bushman is an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy. Dr. Bushman training and research are interdisciplinary, incorporating molecular biology, immunology and biomaterials. Dr. Bushman’s laboratory works on peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries, seeking to understand the molecular underpinnings that prevent regeneration and developing immunomodulatory therapeutics to overcome these effects.
Autografts remain the only clinical option for large segmental peripheral nerve injuries and there are currently no options that can be used to span defects that included branched nerve structures. Live (not decellularized) peripheral nerve allografts harvested from donors are exceptionally effective at stimulating regeneration of large defects –equal or superior to autografts –, but clinical use is limited due to the current requirements of systemic (whole body) immunosuppression that carries risks to the patients and is expensive to administer and monitor. We have investigated the host immune response to live nerve allografts and found distinctions that we hypothesized make localized immunosuppression a possibility for this tissue. We developedand optimized methods of localized immunosuppression that achieve regeneration equal to autograft, which was shown in a critical size gap that included a major nerve branch point. These methods circumvent the risks and expense of systemic immunosuppression and enable the use of an option to regenerate large and complex defects that is already as or more effective than autografts.