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The researchers, working in collaboration with Oxford Biomaterials Ltd, discovered that cleaned, sterilised silk from the Antheraea pernyi (AP) silk spinner had properties well suited to spinal repair. Their work was published this week in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
There are currently around 50,000 people in the UK with a serious spinal cord injury, with 1,000 new cases arising every year. In the UK the cost to the NHS to treat the damage and to help patients manage the injury and subsequent dramatic lifestyle changes is around £1 billion a year.