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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N03127X/1
Title: Engineering self-assembling silk hydrogels for the delivery of stem cells
Principal Investigator: Seib, Dr P
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Inst of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sci
Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 13 October 2016 Ends: 27 January 2019 Value (£): 98,849
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Materials Characterisation
Tissue Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Apr 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 13 April 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Context of the research: Stroke is the number one cause of disability in the UK, with an estimated 150,000 new cases annually. Following the acute onset of stroke, lack of oxygen leads to massive neuronal cell death within minutes and progressive brain damage over the following hours and days. A therapeutic intervention that would retard or even halt stroke progression would benefit stroke survivors. In this context, stem cell-based therapies are currently being assessed in patients. However, delivering those cells safely and effectively to the area in the brain where they are needed most is challenging. There is the need to develop delivery systems that can place, retain, support and protect applied stem cells to maximise their therapeutic potential.

Aims and objectives: Ensuring that a delivery system can fulfil all these needs is not trivial and requires careful selection of the most suitable strategy. The overall aim is to develop a biopolymer solution that can be loaded with stem cells and injected into the stroked brain, which could subsequently transition into a gel that retains, supports and protects the applied stem cell load at the target site. The programme's two main objectives include: 1. Develop protocols that permit the biopolymer's triggered transition from a solution to a gel and to underpin this by robust sample characterisation. 2. Examine the biopolymer's ability to support and protect applied stem cells.

Potential applications and benefits: Achieving the vision of this proposal will have significant potential to contribute to the nation's health and wellbeing through the development of new, better and affordable stem cell delivery systems-a need that is currently unmet. Unlocking this potential through the provision of better delivery technologies has significant promise for substantial economic impact in the UK, from which a range of sectors and their key role in the economy will benefit, e.g. UK biotechnology industry research and development spending is approximately 780 million p.a. with around 1,000 manufacturers revenues of 8 billion p.a. and projected growth of 4.4% p.a.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk