Research Directions

Engineering of Bone Substitutes
Cartilage Tissue Engineering
Therapeutic Angiogenesis
Cardiac Tissue Engineering
Intervetebral Disk and Spine Regeneration

Horizontal Platforms

Quality Management
Engineering Technologies

Intervetebral Disk and Spine Regeneration

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is the most common causes of lower back pain and is evoked by an imbalance of the anabolic and catabolic processes in cells of the disc. This change promotes altered biomechanical loading that provokes inflammation, as well as structural damages, which can both lead to pain. Treatments dedicated to restoring IVD homeostasis through cell therapy have been conducted for more than a decade with various cell sources and have validated that cellular injection therapy is safe. However, an ideal cell type and source has not been identified that has met the desired expectations of inhibiting degeneration or promoting regeneration.

In recent years, nasal chondrocytes of the nasal septal cartilage have gained a reputation for cartilage tissue regeneration due to their known robust cartilage-forming potential and capacity to adapt the joint environment. These advancements have promoted the concept of investigating nasal chondrocytes for the treatment of degenerate disc disease. In synergy with the Department of Spinal Surgery of the University Hospital Basel under the management of Prof. Dr. Stefan Schaeren, a subgroup of the lab of Ivan Martin aims to establish a cell therapy using nasal chondrocytes for IVD regeneration. Furthermore, the group is also dedicated to the understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms of disc degeneration.

Associated Clinical Departments

Prof. Dr. Stefan Schären
Spinal Surgery
PD Dr. Arne Mehrkens
Spinal Surgery