Scaffolds bring back relief

A University of Manchesterengineering student has scooped a top industry prize for research that could bring relief to thousands of back pain sufferers.

Rachael Ambury won The Morgan Crucible prize for the Best Materials Student in the annual Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Student of the Year Awards. Her final year project focused on tissue engineering and examined how special braces or ‘scaffolds’ could be used to treat slipped discs and other back problems.

Employing an engineering process known as electro spinning, Rachael produced a series of ‘bioresorbable’ polymer scaffolds, which can be surgically implanted to hold tissue together, helping cells repair and re-grow.

Using these bioresorbable scaffolds, which dissolve naturally over time, reduces the cost of treatment and allows the patient to recover quicker.