Developing a new injectable treatment for spinal disc degeneration

Disease - IVD degeneration, back pain, other surgical techniques

Lead applicant - Professor Ruth Wilcox

Organisation - University of Leeds

Type of grant - Translation

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £97,325.60

Start date - 1 November 2018

Reference - 22031

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Back pain is a very common problem which will affect many of us at some point. Persistent back pain can be more serious, with degeneration or damage of the spinal discs being one of the most common causes. The spine is made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, with spinal discs between them. In severe cases of degeneration, surgeons may remove the disc and fuse the two adjacent vertebrae together, however this major operation is not suitable for all patients and outcomes are not always successful.

The aim of this work is to test the safety of an injectable gel material for disc degeneration by injection into elderly sheep with disc degeneration.

Why is this research important?

Researchers in this study have developed a gel material that is bio-compatible (meaning that it is not harmful or toxic to the body) and able to withstand the forces associated with the spinal discs. This research project will test the injection of the gel material in spinal discs of elderly sheep, monitoring levels of activity to see if it has any positive effect on function. If effective, it is hoped that the results of this research will support the commercial uptake of this product for disc repair. This research will also help to develop a new method for testing disc repair strategies, which has the potential to be used to test other disc repair products.

How will the findings benefit patients?

If successful, this work may lead to the further development of a new, minimally invasive treatment for disc degeneration. This new treatment could provide pain relief for patients and enable them to resume day to day activities without the need for a major operation.