Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Northeastern start-up harnesses collagen to treat injuries

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 24th, 2023

A start-up from Northeastern University is harnessing collagen as a potential treatment for a range of injuries.

BrilliantStrings Therapeutics is based on the research of Jeffrey W. Ruberti, a professor at Northeastern and the start-up’s CEO. Since 2004, Ruberti has been studying collagen, the most abundant protein in the body and the building block of connective tissues including tendons, muscle, ligaments, and cartilage.

According to Ruberti, collagen has a number of properties that make it ideal for treating injuries. “If you take a piece of string and pull it tight, it’s easy to cut because it just snaps,” Ruberti says. “With collagen, you stretch it and it makes it harder to cut.”

In addition, collagen is “clean,” Ruberti adds, meaning that if it is introduced where it is not necessarily needed, it simply breaks down and falls apart.

“It goes to where you need it, and it doesn’t go anywhere else,” he says. “You can dump it in and it will fix damaged material, and if it doesn’t, it will disappear.”

BrilliantString is developing methods to inject collagen directly into the site of injury. This could prevent further degeneration and avoid surgery, enabling a full recovery in half the time.

The start-up will initially focus on rotator cuff injuries, with the potential to eventually treat other injuries such as tears in the meniscus, Achilles tendon, ligaments and more.

BrillianStrings recently made it to the “final four” round of the ARPA-H-Dash to Accelerate Health Outcomes, a national competition focused on innovative health technologies.

Source: Northeastern Global News

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