A surrogate spinal cord simulates both the mechanical and surface properties of an actual spinal cord for laboratory testing of spinal implants. In the construction of this surrogate spinal cord, the modulus of the cord was chosen to match that of a human spinal cord, while the interfacial properties (which control the stress that develops between the cord and an implanted object) were matched to those of rat spinal cords. The formulation of the material used to construct the cord is unique to this work.



When developing new devices for implantation into the spinal cord or brain, mechanical interactions are very important, since the tissue undergoes a wide range of deformations during every day activities, including stretching, bending, and twisting motions. Although necessary to the overall development strategy, in vivo testing of implants in animals is expensive and time consuming. An in vitro model provides a more feasible approach for early stage studies.

  • This surrogate spinal cord allows implants to be tested in the laboratory environment, without the need to sacrifice animals or harvest spinal cords.
  • The same material can be used to make surrogate brains to allow for testing of many types of implants designed for the brain.


Potential Markets

The present invention is a surrogate spinal cord which can be used to test the mechanical stability of various spinal cord implants (such as electrodes) in the laboratory setting. In addition, these constructs may be used to test the mechanical stability of brain implants, since the mechanical and interfacial properties of tissue in the brain are similar to those of spinal cord tissue. Spinal and brain implants are increasingly being developed for restoring function following injury or disease, and these implants must be fully tested before being utilized.


Protection Status

Patent pending

Product Number


Contact Information

Quang Tran
Phone: 780-492-6254