NJCBM Mini Symposium on Nerve

Hilton Kaplan

  • Portrait
  • Hilton Kaplan, MBBCh FCSSA PhD
  • Engineering Autologus Human Neurovascular Bundles from Decellularized Xenogeneic ones for Regenerative Medicine Applications


Dr. Kaplan is a Plastic Surgeon and a Biomedical Engineer. His research in academia focused on neurosciences and tissue engineering, as Associate Director at NJCBM and at USC. He is the Sr Medical Director of Avanos Medical (formerly Kimberly Clark's Halyard Health), covering Global R&D and Clinical & Medical Affairs. Kaplan consults globally for startup through Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies, across clinical, device-biologic and regulatory spaces. He has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in industry, including Senior Medical Director at Allergan and Vice President of Clinical Sciences at LifeCell. Kaplan has a long history of passionately advocating for burn and craniofacial patients, and is a founding board member of the non-profits Grossman Burn Foundation and the Look-at-Us Alliance for Craniofacial Differences. 


Quality of life following surgical or traumatic injury is dependent on restoring form and function. As robust vascular supply and sensory-motor reinnervation are essential for wound healing and tissue regeneration, revascularizing and re-innervating soft tissues are critical aspects of regenerative medicine solutions. The ability to create autologous human neurovascular bundles (NVBs), from xenogeneic sources, is therefore a novel tool for a wide range of applications. We have developed bioreactors and protocols to create human neurovascular bundles using xenogeneic extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds from 4 progressively larger species (rat, rabbit, pig, and non-human primate) to demonstrate scalability. Based on the similarity of porcine vascular structures to human ones, this source has been selected as our primary ECM of choice for in vitro recellularization with human endothelial cells (ECs) and Schwann cells (SCs). These novel "autologous" off-the-shelf NVBs aim to play an important role in reinnervation and revascularization for soft and hard tissue reconstruction, rehabilitation of massive scarring, and engineered tissues; and as free vascularized nerve grafts; while avoiding donor site morbidity and the need for immunosuppression.