Prosthetics and Regenerative Rehabilitation

With advancing battlefield technologies, field medicine and ever-changing arenas of battle, more military personnel are facing multiple limb loss and other related complex issues. The primary goal of this program is to help military personnel lead normal, productive lives and perform activities of daily life that are comparable to people without limb loss. An important secondary goal is to enable the return of affected personnel to active duty status. At the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering (ICRME), scientists and clinicians work with government organizations and industry to address pressing military and veteran needs.

Patient Outcomes & Imaging Technologies

A range of non-invasive imaging technologies are employed to assess the impact of prosthetics. These approaches promise unparalleled user experiences and outcomes. The use of Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) and Targeted Sensory Reinnervation (TSR) is finally enabling the development of advanced bionic systems. Additionally, imaging approaches, such as shape capture, are being used to understand better how residual limbs interact with prosthetic systems.

Military Population Focused Solutions

Military servicemen and women have distinctly different prosthetic needs. Our sex-based research considers the unique anatomical and other characteristics of the individual to develop solutions that are specifically suited for women. Aesthetics is an important consideration in this approach. The goal is to maintain and improve residual limb health across a lifetime, coupled with the need to push boundaries in terms of durability, functionality, and performance.

Regenerative Rehabilitation

As an emerging field, regenerative rehabilitation integrates regenerative medicine and rehabilitation sciences to develop innovative solutions that are a class of their own. Current research aims to investigate cell-based therapies, tissue engineering, and novel regenerative processes that may improve residual limb health and prosthetic performance. Large animal studies, as well as patient-based studies, are currently ongoing. Non-invasive imaging plays a major role in this field.

Limb Health

Residual limb health is central to the well-being and physical ability of the amputee. Current patient-based research at ICRME employs in-socket diagnostics and imaging to assess limb health. Observations lead to novel mechanistic hypotheses, which in turn inform clinical study design. The program has the ability to monitor and manage limb volume, limb temperature, and other vital health outcomes, which significantly inform advancements in prosthetic technology, resections and performance outcomes.

Academic-Industry-Public Partnerships

Research solutions must be informed by end-user and collaborator feedback and market needs. Solutions must have solid commercialization strategies with defined timelines and outcomes. Our focus is to take solutions to people. In that path, optimal industry partnerships represent a major cornerstone. For example, a past project focused on further developing an adaptive socket system that detects in-socket residual limb motion and dynamically adjusts internal socket negative pressure to optimize fit and performance. This VA-funded project developed a product which went to market two years after the inception of the idea and is currently used by veterans.