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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S031669/1
Title: The development and implementation of a six-axis bioreactor for regenerative therapies of the intervertebral disc
Principal Investigator: Holsgrove, Dr T P
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Engineering Computer Science and Maths
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 July 2019 Ends: 30 June 2021 Value (£): 222,239
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Tissue Engineering Tissue engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Apr 2019 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 9 and 10 April 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Back and neck pain are extremely common conditions globally, and the degeneration of the intervertebral disc is commonly associated with this pain, or is a contributor to the degenerative cascade leading to pain in other structures of the spine. The intervertebral disc is a complex structure, and both the mechanical and biological environment play an important role in the health and maintenance of the disc. However, the effect of complex physiological loading on the cellular behaviour in the disc is unknown, and this limits our understanding of disc degeneration, and our ability to adequately develop and evaluate regenerative treatments for disc degeneration.

This project will develop and implement the first six-axis bioreactor, which will be capable of applying complex physiological loads to whole intervertebral disc cultures. This will provide unique opportunities to investigate the coupling of mechanical and biological environments relating to disc degeneration, and in the development, optimisation, and evaluation of regenerative treatments for the intervertebral disc.

The project will benefit from the support of a Visiting Academic (Professor Justin Cooper-White) who has developed novel, injectable, hydrogel-based regenerative therapy for the intervertebral disc, and the final part of this project will be to evaluate the effectiveness of this therapy.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.ex.ac.uk