Réparation biologique du disque intervertébrale dégénéré

Chercheurs-boursiers- Junior 2 | Concours 2012-2013

Lisbet Haglund

Institut de recherche du Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)


Domaine :Appareil locomoteur et arthrite

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is a common cause of chronic back pain. The lifetime prevalence of back pain from chronic degenerative disc disease has been estimated to be up to 80%, with an annual reported incidence in ~5% of the Canadian population and costs our health care system ~ $5 billion annually in expensive and repetitive surgical interventions, loss of income and long term rehabilitation. The disc has little intrinsic capacity for regeneration and repair. Pre-clinical studies in animals suggest that the early stages of IVD degeneration can be retarded or even reversed by the administration of growth factors to promote new extracellular matrix synthesis. Controversy surrounding appropriate pre-clinical models to study human intervertebral disc disease continues to escalate.

The goal of my research program is to characterize IVD disease at the molecular level, to develop targeted therapeutic interventions to inhibit degeneration and promote regeneration and repair and to further our understanding of the mechanisms involved in pain generation associated with intervertebral disc degeneration. To circumvent the need for an in vivo model we have developed a novel ex vivo organ culture system using a bioreactor along with intact human and bovine discs. We will in these systems examine induced biological repair during the early stages of IVD degeneration when the disc remains structurally intact. The systems provide screening platforms where we can evaluate the efficacy of repair. They also allow periods of repetitive high loads to be applied to the discs thereby providing an experimental platform where degeneration and the potential for pain induction can be evaluated. 

An improved understanding of the pathophysiology leading to disc degeneration and pain will facilitate the development of biomarkers as targets for more specific therapeutic interventions for regeneration and pain relief, so avoiding invasive and often dangerous surgical procedures.