New method of spinal cord tissue repair: Successfully synthesized hybrid biomaterial could be used to treat spinal injuries

A unique new material developed at University of Limerick in Ireland has shown significant promise in the treatment of spinal cord injury.

The research conducted at UL’s Bernal Institute — published in the journal Biomaterials Research — has made exciting progress in the field of spinal cord tissue repair.

New hybrid biomaterials developed at UL in the form of nanoparticles and building on existing practice in the tissue engineering field, were successfully synthesised to promote repair and regeneration following spinal cord injury, according to the researchers.

The UL team led by Professor Maurice N Collins, Associate Professor, School of Engineering at UL and lead author Aleksandra Serafin, a PhD candidate at UL, used a new kind of scaffolding material and a unique new electrically conducting polymer composite to promote new tissue growth and generation that could advance the treatment of spinal cord injury.

“Spinal Cord Injury remains one of the most debilitating traumatic injuries a person can sustain during their lifetime, affecting every aspect of the person’s life,” explained Professor Collins.

“The debilitating disorder results in paralysis below the level of injury and, in the US alone, the annual healthcare costs for SCI patient care are $9.7 billion. As there is currently no widely available treatment, continuous research into this field is crucial to find a treatment to improve the patient’s quality of life, with the research field turning towards tissue engineering for novel treatment strategies.

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