Latest news from the group

EngNT demonstrates equivalent performance to autograft in preclinical nerve repair

Added 15 September, 2021

Important new study provides compelling preclinical evidence to support the effectiveness of Engineered Neural Tissue (EngNT) as a replacement for the nerve autograft. Functional regeneration assessed through histological and electrophysiological outcome measures demonstrated equivalent performance. Furthermore, the living replacement nerve tissue was implanted within a collagen membrane wrap, providing an artificial tissue with similar mechanical and handling properties to natural nerve.

This study will help underpin progression of the technology through the required manufacture and regulatory steps to testing in human patients. Translation of EngNT to clinical application is being undertaken with our UCL spinout company Glialign Ltd.

New paper characterising human nerve degeneration

Added 21 April, 2020

This study reveals new information about the cellular and molecular features of human nerves following injury. Published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications (Open Access), this collaborative work analysed nerve tissue from patients undergoing repair surgery. Since the patients had surgery at various different times after the original injury, it was possible to build up an understanding of how nerve tissues change over days, months and years following damage.

Using immunohistochemistry and Real-Time quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR), the expression of SOX10, c-Jun, p75NTR and EGR2 was assessed in denervated samples and compared to healthy nerve. The patterns of changes seen in the human samples were similar to those reported previously in rodent models, with Schwann cells adopting a repair phenotype in acutely injured nerves, which then fades during chronic denervation. Understanding the timing of these changes in human nerve tissue following injury should help to inform the development of better therapeutic interventions.

More information about the study is provided in this UCL News Item and the paper can be accessed via this link. The project involved Matthew Wilcox, Simao Laranjeira, Tuula Eriksson, Kristjan Jessen, Rhona Mirsky, Tom Quick and James Phillips and was a multidisciplinary collaboration within the UCL Centre for Nerve Engineering.

Cordwainers Prize Awarded for Best MBPhD Thesis

Added 29 March, 2020

Congratulations to Richard Bartlett for being awarded the prestigious Cordwainers Prize for his PhD thesis Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to repair the spinal cord. The prize is awarded for the best PhD thesis presented by an MBPhD student each year.

Nerve repair project awarded prestigious UCL Rosetrees Stoneygate Prize

Added 2 April, 2019

We are delighted to announce our team was awarded the 2018 UCL Rosetrees Stoneygate Prize for research into improving nerve grafting using biomaterials. This cross-faculty research team led by James Phillips includes Rebecca Shipley, (UCL Mechanical Engineering, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering), Ashleigh Boyd (UCL Division of Surgery & Interventional Science, UCL Institute of Immunity & Transplantation), Victoria Roberton (UCL School of Pharmacy) and Gareth Williams (UCL School of Pharmacy). The project will run for 3 years from April 2019 and will use a multi-disciplinary approach to develop alternatives to nerve autografts.

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