Photonic NerveBond System for Enhanced Nerve Repair

Period of Performance: 11/07/2008 - 11/07/2010


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Massachusetts General Hospital
Research Management
Boston, MA 02114
Institution POC


Military trauma can result in peripheral nerve injury, including nerve laceration, requiring surgical reattachment. Surgical repair involves excising the damaged section of the nerve, leaving a gap that must be bridged to recover nerve function. Standard of care for segmental nerve injury is to fill the gap with a donor nerve graft. This leads to increased treatment time and loss of donor sight sensory function. Due to complications of current techniques, there is interest in developing less invasive surgical repairs. Photochemical tissue bonding (PTB) is emerging as an alternative to surgical tissue repair. The objective of this program is to develop a PTB system for nerve repair. PTB combines photoactive dyes with a visible light source to create fluid-tight seals between tissue surfaces, by generating covalent bonds when the dye absorbs light energy. Positive results in nerves make PTB reasonable for improved military and civilian microsurgical nerve repair. However, further development is needed in the light delivery. To address this need, Luna Innovations with the Wellman Center for Photomedicine will further the development of the light delivery system. Luna will fabricate, optimize, and evaluate a light delivery device to deliver 360° isotropic dosimetry for nerve repair. BENEFIT: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) has resulted in over 30,000 wounded soldiers to date according to the Department of Defense. Extremity injuries comprise the majority of combat wounds in U.S. armed conflicts, including a current percentage of 54% in OEF and OIF. Of these injuries, 53% were penetrating soft tissue wounds, and 4% were characterized as nerve wounds. During the course of rehabilitation, many of these soldiers will require microsurgery that will include repairing blood vessels and reconnection of nerves. Additionally, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons there were over 180,000 hand and microsurgical procedures performed in the U.S. in 2006. Photochemical tissue bonding could improve the outcomes of these procedures by reducing surgical time and minimizing trauma.