The potential of combining novel silk biomaterial and electric field application for spinal injury repair (360G-Wellcome-202396_Z_16_Z)
Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to impairment, often permanent, of motor and sensory function below the level of injury. In the UK about 50,000 people live with the consequences of spinal injury, with an additional 1000 each year. There is still no cure currently available for SCI and there is an urgent need for new approaches to improve functional recovery. We have previously shown that a novel silk biomaterial called Spidrex® (sourced from Oxfordbiomaterials Ltd) significantly promoted regeneration of rat peripheral nervous system and that electric fields can provide excellent guidance cues to neurons. Our more recent results from cells in culture demonstrated that Spidrex® also supported growth of mammalian nerve cells from the central nervous system (CNS). The environment at the injury site following SCI is very complex, thus no single therapeutic approach has been successful, showing that a combinatorial approach is more likely to be effective. We therefore propose to test the regenerative potential of combining Spidrex® biomaterial with electrical stimulation. This testing will give a preliminary understanding of how CNS neurons respond to a combination treatment and whether this is likely to be effective in combination with growth factors and in an in vivo injury model.
£2,000 01 Apr 2016