One-Off Treatment To Stop Back Pain

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A University of Manchester researcher has developed a treatment for lower back pain using the patient's own stem cells, which could replace the use of strong painkillers or surgery that can cause debilitation, neither of which addresses the underlying cause.

Dr Stephen Richardson, of the University's Division of Regenerative Medicine in the School of Medicine (FMHS), has developed the back pain treatment; and in collaboration with German biotechnology company Arthrokinetics and internationally-renowned spinal surgeons Spinal Foundation are hoping to enter pre-clinical trials next year. It is expected to rapidly yield a marketable product which will revolutionise treatment of long-term low back pain.

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As a result Dr Richardson has been named Northwest Young Biotechnologist of the Year (sponsored by Nature) at the North West Development Agency/Bionow awards.

Low back pain (LBP) affects a large proportion of the adult population at some point in their lives and in many of these cases it is persistent, eventually leading to debilitating pain. The majority of the cases of LBP are due to degeneration of the intervertebral disc (IVD), the soft tissue which separates the vertebrae in the spine and protects them from damage; it is the flexibility of this tissue that allows movement of the spine (bending, twisting etc). The IVD is comprised of a central gel-like tissue (nucleus pulposus or NP), surrounded by a fibrous ring of tissue (annulus fibrosus or AF). Over time the NP becomes dry and fibrous and cannot support the weight of the body, which means the disc becomes damaged and painful and this is the source of the LBP in many people.

Currently, treatments of back pain address the symptoms

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