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3R’s Prize for Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal use in science

Added 3 June, 2015

MSc Clinical Neuroscience student Charlotte Lee-Reeves was awarded the prize for the most innovative research that supported the 3Rs - Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal use in science, at the 16th annual Queen Square Symposium. The event saw over 60 PhD and MSc students from the UCL Institute of Neurology exhibiting posters based on their current research from a broad range of areas in neuroscience and neurological disease. Charlotte presented the preliminary findings from her project in developing an engineered neural tissue model of neurodegeneration. Her prize was awarded by guest speaker Professor Geoffrey Raisman, who gave the attendees an inspiring talk about neural regeneration and the future of nervous system repair.          

New project optimising photochemical internalisation to avoid neuronal toxicity

Added 24 April, 2015

Photochemical Internalisation (PCI) is a novel drug delivery technology founded upon Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). In PCI, low dose PDT can selectively rupture endo/lysosomal membranes by light activation of membrane-incorporated photosensitisers, facilitating intracellular drug release. PCI is currently being tested in patients at UCLH with advanced head and neck cancer (HNC) undergoing Bleomycin chemotherapy (more information). For PCI to be developed further, it is essential to understand whether nerve damage is an impending side effect when treating cancers within or adjacent to nervous system tissue. This study aims to investigate the effect of PCI on mammalian peripheral nerve cells using advanced cell culture models, with proven utility for translational PDT research, to identify a PCI treatment approach that minimises nerve toxicity. The project is a collaboration with Dr Josephine Woodhams (UCL Surgery) and Mr Colin Hopper (Consultant Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon) and the Research Assistant working on the project is Caitriona O'Rourke.

New paper: Using adipose-derived stem cells to build artificial nerve tissue

Added 15 November, 2014

Published in Biomaterials, the paper describes how stem cells from adipose tissue can be used to assemble engineered neural tissue (EngNT) for peripheral nerve repair. Organising adipose stem cell-derived Schwann cells within collagen hydrogels generated a robust cellular material. The cells adopted an aligned phenotype in the EngNT, increased their production of a range of molecules associated with regeneration, and supported neuronal growth in vitro and in vivo. The paper is freely available to download.

‘Ask an Expert’ interview

Added 3 November, 2014

James was interviewed by Dr Claire Cox from Axol as part of her 'Ask an Expert' blog series.

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