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There is no effective treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI); and long-term personal, social and economic costs are huge.

PIECRISCI proposes a material-based treatment for SCI, incorporating exosome/CRISPR/Cas9 complexes into piezoelectric nerve conduits. The system will be tested in vitro, and on in vivo rat SCI models. Gender factors in regeneration will be evaluated.

Loading gene editing cargo in exosomes will provide protection; its release through conduits will allow targeting. The delivery system can be used for other diseases. The in vitro model can be developed further with human cells for personalized treatments. In vivo tests will lay the groundwork for clinical trials.

The strategy may improve the life standards of SCI patients, and lower treatment costs. Developed in vitro model can be used for pharmaceutical screening of other treatment strategies, and reduce the number of animals used in experiments.

Investigation of Regenerative Effects of CRISPR/Cas9 Functionalized Piezoelectric Nerve Conduits on in vitro and in vivo Spinal Cord Injury Models

​Investigation of Hypertension on an in vitro Model of the Blood Brain Barrier ​


TÜBİTAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) & COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)


The first aim of this project is the construction of a reliable in vitro BBB model mimicking physiological BBB in terms of cellular organization and mechanobiology. With this aim, as a replacement of the basal membrane, bacterial cellulose (BC), which is previously shown to imitate extracellular matrix used for developing the new three-dimensional (3D) BBB system. By means of BC’s nanoporous structure, nutrient transfer enabled while cell migration is restricted. Brain microvascular endothelial cells seeded in luminal section and astrocytes and brain microvascular pericytes seeded in abluminal section, and cultivated together without changing compartments. Co-cultivation of these three cell types is essential in order for the BBB model to be more realistic by reducing permeability. In the final step of the project, degenerative effects of hypertension on BBB examined by increasing the pressure of culture media that is pulsatively passed through the bioreactor up to physiological values of hypertension.

There are more than 600 disorders that affect the nervous system. These conditions are usually related to the atrophies that effect central and/or atrofils peripheral structures of the nervous system. Neurodegerative diseases are characterized as progressive functional disorders due to hereditary and/or sporadic situations (European Comission Public Health, 2014). Alzheimer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington, multiple sclerosis (MS), amniotic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, encephalitis and brain cancer are some of the known neurodegerative diseases. Parkinson’s disease is usually observed at patients over 60 years old and effects one of a thousand people, which is the second most common neurodegerative disease (Tanner vd., 2008). Parkinson’s disease develops when the dopamine producing neurons at the basal ganglions of deep brain parts are affected and the communication between these nerves and muscles is impaired. Although there are many investigations over this disease, unfortunately no treatment has been found. Today’s treatments are only to suppress or reduce the effects of the disease, and improve the life standards of the patient. The aim of this proposal is to develop a tissue engineering product fort he treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). For this purpose, self-assembling peptide gel scaffolds reinforced with magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles or graphene will be produced. The scaffolds will be tested on both in vitro and in vivo Parkinson’s models. For the in vitro models, initially cell lines used for the same purpose in the literature will be used; later they will be replaced by primary rat mesenchymal stem cells. In order to test patient specific clinical potential of the proposed strategy, we will try to produce a healthy nerve tissue using rat bone marrow (BM-MSC) and olfactory mucosal (OE-MSC) mesenchymal stem cells on composite scaffolds in vitro, and these tissues will be tested in in vivo models to compare the neurodegerative effects of the scaffolds with and without the cells. Thus, the regenerative effects of Fe3O4 nanoparticles and graphene for the treatment of the disease and the therapeutic potential of the tissue engineering approach will be evaluated.

Investigation of the Neuroregenerative Effects of Iron Oxide Nanoparticle and Graphene Reinforced Self-Assembling Peptide Tissue Engineering Products on in vitro and in vivo Parkinson's Disease Models


TÜBİTAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) & COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)


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