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Anti-inflammatory Nanotherapy Improves Outcomes After Urethral Surgery

May 07, 2021

In the first study to evaluate the effects of anti-inflammatory nanofibers on wound healing following urethral surgery, scientists from the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago found that this innovative therapy promotes faster and complete healing, preventing prolonged or excessive inflammation that commonly leads to the need for more surgery. Their results were published in the journal Macromolecular Bioscience.

Urethral reconstruction surgery is needed to correct congenital anomalies, such as hypospadias, which results in disruption of normal urethral formation and affects one in every 150-300 live male births. Surgery is also used to treat urethral strictures, an acquired pathology resulting in blockages, that may affect one in 1,000-10,000 men. 

“Protracted post-surgical inflammation leading to complications is a persistent problem in urethral reconstruction,” said senior author Arun Sharma, PhD, Director of Surgical Research at the Manne Research Institute at Lurie Children’s and Research Associate Professor of Urology and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering. “Using a rat model, we implanted during surgery a biological scaffold coated with nanomolecules that carry an anti-inflammatory peptide, which is a tiny portion of a protein. This treatment reduced the excessive pro-inflammatory immune response while increasing recruitment of pro-regenerative, anti-inflammatory immune cells. The result was faster wound healing and increased blood flow, without the common complications of urethral reconstruction.”

Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 220,000 children from 48 states and 49 countries.