Bolton University in 1.3m project to produce artificial tendons

13 February 2013

The University of Bolton has joined an international consortium of universities that has secured €1.5 million of funding for research into developing biomaterials for tendon regeneration.

The consortium, which also includes the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has secured the funding from the Marie Curie Sponsorship Programme. Around €250,000 will be allocated to Bolton University. Two fully-funded researchers and a senior researcher from the University of Bolton have already been seconded to Vornia Limited, a spin-off company from NUI that designs and develops biomaterials for medical purposes and commercialisation.

Tendons are the fibrous bands that connect muscle to bone. They are extremely strong in the context of the body, but once damaged are difficult to treat or repair. Tendon injuries are common in sports and physical exercise and can leave athletes side-lined for months.

The consortium will be making artificial tendon fibres made of especially designed smart materials, including fibrous proteins such as collagen. These would then be woven or braided into the body, replacing or repairing damaged tendons.

The University of Bolton is a world-renowned research centre in the area of smart materials. It pioneers areas such as the biomedical applications of hybrid biomaterials made from sea algae and crab shells for wound dressing applications and has developed the world’s first photovoltaic-piezoelectric fibre which can harness electricity from movement — such as wind and wave — and from the sun.

Dr Moshen Miraftab is leading the project at the University of Bolton. He said: "Given the importance of such an investigation and practical application of its outcome, success of this research could lead to further Pan-European project partnerships for the University."



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