The research interests of Alexander Y. Shin, M.D., span the realm of both clinical and basic science problems. Clinically, he studies outcomes and compares treatment options in patients with hand and upper extremity problems including fractures, soft tissue injuries, arthritis, tumors and nerve injuries. Within the basic science field, his focus is on the enhancement of peripheral nerve regeneration by alteration of the local environment using stem cells, exosomes, surgical angiogenesis and modulation of the local immune response.
The surgeon-scientist approach allows Dr. Shin to bring real-world problems to his basic science laboratory to advance understanding of the mechanisms of nerve regeneration for patients with nerve injuries.
- Outcome and comparative studies on treatment methods for upper extremity reconstruction. Dr. Shin critically evaluates and compares treatment options for a variety of upper extremity conditions, in particular wrist fractures and nonunions, wrist instability, carpal tunnel syndrome, brachial plexus injuries, peripheral nerve injuries, tumor reconstruction, and arthritis of the hand and wrist. He is involved in clinical trials for management of chronic neuropathic pain associated with brachial plexus trauma.
- Enhancement of peripheral nerve reconstruction by alteration of the local environment Dr. Shin characterizes and evaluates how local modifications and alterations in the microenvironment can enhance nerve regeneration. Investigation of stem cells, exosomes, surgical angiogenesis and local delivery of immunosuppressive agents is currently underway.
- The role of adipose-derived stem cells applied to allograft nerves. With a limited supply of a patient's own nerve for nerve reconstruction, processed cadaver nerves have been used with limited success. The lack of cells and growth factors from these processed nerves led Dr. Shin and his team to evaluate the role of stem cells seeded onto processed cadaver nerves to enhance nerve regeneration.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Shin hopes that through his research, processed cadaver nerves seeded with stem cells can equal the efficacy of patients' own nerves. He aims to understand the mechanism to modify the nerve regeneration environment to enhance and improve nerve regeneration speed and efficacy. Combining his research in both the clinical and basic science realm allow bench-to-bedside translation.