New approach to nerve repair with novel silk-based products

A new company, Neurotex Ltd, has been established to develop novel silk-based products that have the potential to provide a new generation of nerve repair materials and treatments.

To help Neurotex Ltd. carry out its developments, a £250,000 investment has been made by The Kinetique Biomedical Seed Fund.

Neurotex Ltd is a joint venture company, bringing together the expertise of Professor John Priestley, Head of Neuroscience at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the unique silk-based materials technology of Oxford Biomaterials Ltd.

Neurotex Ltd is developing a range of patented devices for the repair of damaged nerves using a modified wild silk developed by Oxford Biomaterials, called Spidrex. Initial studies have shown Spidrex to be highly supportive of directed nerve growth with low immunotoxicity.

Professor John Priestley, Scientific Founder of Neurotex expects that the research will lead to treatment for damaged nerves and may eventually lead to treatments for repairing damaged spinal cord.

“For us it’s an ambitious but realistic goal to repair the peripheral nervous system,” says Professor Priestley. “If you damage a peripheral nerve, so long as it has a support to follow, the nerve should regrow and hopefully the nerve injury will repair itself. If you damage the spinal cord, however, there are lots of things that will try and prevent the regrowth taking place, such as natural inhibitory components. To repair a damaged spinal cord, we will need different types of tubes and will have to combine other approaches such as stem cells, growth factors or other additives. So it’s a much longer term goal, but the rewards are potentially much greater.”

Dr Richard Skipper has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the new company. Richard has 25 years experience in the marketing and manufacturing of aerospace, telecommunications and medical products, 16 years at board level with multi-national companies with an emphasis on producing medical devices, taking them from concept through to sales.

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