Prostata Nervenregeneration

Project Image:
Title of the project:
Prostata Nervenregeneration
Impotence and incontinence treatment after prostate cancer: injectable growth matrix for nerve regeneration
Impotence and incontinence treatment after prostate cancer: injectable growth matrix for nerve regeneration
Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schlosshauer
Project funding:
  • Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
Project management:
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
Funding reference number:

A surgical removal of the prostate leads to injury of the surrounding nerve plexus, which can lead to impotence and loss of urine control (stress incontinence). In order to counteract this, a new therapy concept is being established: An in situ malleable, resorbable hydrogel is to serve regenerating nerve fibers as a growth matrix. The hydrogel is based on a solution with a biological matrix component, which is polymerized directly during the operation and can therefore adapt to the individual anatomical conditions. The therapy is intended to close a gap in prostate therapy.


Spinal cord injuries and damage to the peripheral nervous system cannot be cured, or only to a limited extent. Nerve regeneration is primarily prevented by gaps in the tissue, scarring and inhibitory proteins. Nanomedical approaches promise innovative regenerative therapies in addition to traditional methods. The proposed project offers a new interdisciplinary concept in the field of materials science and biomedical research. This project combines nanostructured resorbable implants with molecular biological nanotherapeutics.

In this concept, nanostructured, resorbable implants (tubes containing filaments) with nanopores are used. These guarantee nutrient exchange and at the same time prevent the infiltration of interfering cells. With these biomaterial-based implants we will be able to specifically bridge the lesion site in the nerve tissue. Nanotherapeutics, such as oligonucleotide biomaterial Nanoparticles are integrated into the above mentioned implant and will modulate certain cellular processes to a) specifically counteract scarring and b) desensitize growing neurites against growth-inhibiting proteins in adult nerve tissue. The intracellular signalling pathways of neurites are therapeutically modified by the suppression of central proteins. This inhibition of proteins takes place by switching off the associated genes using ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi).

For a possible clinical application of the RNAi technology (Nobel Prize 2006) in the nervous system, we will focus in particular on the production of siRNA nanoparticles. This includes new cell-specific products in connection with the macro-implant. The introduction of these nanotherapeutics into the biomaterial of the implant will mean a new, innovative release of the active ingredient at the target site. The nano-biofunctionalized implants will be tested in preclinical lesion models of the peripheral nervous system and spinal cord in rats. Nanotherapeutics technology is a cross-sectional technology that could easily be applied in many other medical indication areas. The combined, far-reaching competencies of the European countries will enable us to achieve the goals of this interdisciplinary regenerative therapy concept.

Project partners:
  • Universitätsklinikum Urologie