Sheffield research to heal injuries quicker

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Engineers in Sheffield have developed a method of helping damaged nerves repair naturally, which could restore feeling and movement for people with injured arms and legs.

A team from Sheffield University’s engineering department have developed a new way of making nerve guidance conduits, which stimulate damaged nerves to regrow, before the conduits naturally decompose.

John Haycock, professor of bioengineering, said: “When nerves in the arms or legs are injured they have the ability to re-grow, unlike in the spinal cord. But they need assistance to do this.

“We are designing scaffold implants that can bridge an injury site and provide a range of physical and chemical cues for stimulating this regrowth.”

Biomaterials lecturer Dr Frederik Claeyssens added: “Nerves are made up of lots of small cables, similar to an electrical wire.

“Using our new technique we can make a conduit with individual strands so the nerve fibres can form a similar structure to an undamaged nerve.”