Osteo Science Foundation Awardee

Osteo Science Foundation announces $100,000 Award to NJCBM’s Hilton Kaplan for his work on Decellularized Neurovascular Bundles for Craniomaxillofacial Reconstruction.

The Board of Directors of the Osteo Science Foundation has awarded its inaugural four research grants, totaling close to $200,000, to researchers at Columbia University, Indiana University, Rutgers University, and UCLA. The research projects focus on applied developments and treatment concepts in regenerative medicine for clinical application in Oral, Cranial, and Maxillofacial surgery. Each of the four projects aligns with the vision of Osteo Science Foundation, which is to advance hard and soft tissue regeneration in Oral, Cranial, and Maxillofacial Surgery through research and education. New Jersey Center for Biomaterial’s Dr. Hilton Kaplan received this important award for his work entitled: "Decellularized Neurovascular Bundle for Craniomaxillofacial Reconstruction"

Dr. Jay P. Malmquist, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, stated that, "For our first grant cycle, we were so pleased with the quantity and caliber of the applications we received. Our Scientific Review Committee was charged with evaluating these novel and important proposals, and we are confident that the excellent research projects we are funding will have significant impacts both on the medical community and the patients we serve. While the Foundation's focus is in hard and soft tissue regeneration, our ultimate goal is improved outcomes for our patients. I know the entire Board of Directors eagerly anticipates the results.

Hilton Kaplan, MBBCh, FCSSA, PhD
Dr. Kaplan is a Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon and Biomedical Engineer with research interests in craniofacial reconstruction using decellularized tissues, and tissue engineering. He is an Associate Research Professor in the NJ Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers University, and an Adjunct Professor in Regulatory Science at the University of Southern California. Dr. Kaplan has held various clinical and research positions across academia and industry, including Senior Medical Director at Allergan (Fortune 500 healthcare) and Vice President of Clinical Sciences at LifeCell (pioneer in decellularizing dermis). He is a founding board member of the non-profits Grossman Burn Foundation, and Look at Us Alliance for Craniofacial Differences.

In traumatic facial injuries, such as large craniomaxillofacial defects and massive burn scarring, quality of life is dependent on restoring form and function. Regeneration within scarred soft tissues and large bony defects are highly dependent on robust vascular supply and sensory-motor reinnervation. Decellularized bone and soft-tissues, such as dermis and nerve grafts, are commercially available for smaller defects, i.e. those that do not require regeneration through a large 3-D volume of tissue. For autologous tissues: graft take generally requires proximity of ~5mm to vascular supply, and nerve autografts exceeding 10cm should be vascularized. We therefore hypothesize that decellularized neurovascular bundles (NVBs) can be re- endothelialized and implanted into large areas of relatively avascular, asensate and/or paralyzed scar tissue; and that in so doing, these defects may be successfully reconstructed by techniques that have otherwise thus far remained suitable to smaller defects only. This research aims to make decellularized allogeneic NVBs available so that craniofacial reconstructions may be performed successfully despite the absence of local autograft vessels and nerves. This will be explored in a rodent animal model using perfusion decellularization techniques and whole-organ bioreactors for recellularization.

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