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Intervertebral disc-on-a-chip: a precision-engineered platform for low back pain studies

Project Member(s): Tavakoli, J., Tipper, J.

Funding or Partner Organisation: AO foundation (AO Spine Discovery and Innovation Award)
AO foundation (AO Spine Discovery and Innovation Award)

Start year: 2022

Summary: Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is associated with chronic low back pain, a leading cause of disability worldwide. Current back pain treatment options are unable to fully address symptoms and have limited long-term efficacy. In addition, IVD regeneration strategies have shown promise in preclinical studies; however, despite such potential, no such therapies have been broadly adopted clinically. The major drawback here is the absence of an appropriate IVD in-vitro model allowing precise tune of material, mechanical and biological properties in a controlled environment to perform IVD research with targeting of precise research questions. Of particular importance, to date the exact number of cells required for practical IVD regeneration is unclear. This research project aims to utilize the previously developed IVD-on-a-chip model to simulate the degenerated IVD microenvironment and identify the optimum cell population required for effective IVD regeneration.

FOR Codes: Biomedical engineering, Tissue engineering, Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences, Expanding knowledge in engineering