Principal investigator: E. Potier

Investigators: H. Petite, J-C. Auregan, M. Manassero,  H. Xu

An estimated 80% of the population worldwide will suffer from back pain at some point during life, a condition that interferes with normal activities and diminishes the quality of life. In addition to causing much suffering of individuals, it also exerts an enormous burden on society as the direct and indirect costs amount for billions annually in Europe. Although back pain is multi-factorial, it is established that the primary cause is disc degeneration, involved in at least 39% of chronic back pain cases.

Current clinical treatments aim to immobilize (by spinal fusion) or replace (using disc prosthesis) the degenerated disc in order to alleviate pain but fail to heal the disc. Moreover, they may accelerate the degenerative process in adjacent discs by altering further the biomechanics of the spine (adjacent segment disease). Availability of novel therapies which successfully reverse the degenerative process will considerably change the patient’s clinical outcome.

Intevertebral disc structure and NP composition

Because of its avascular nature, the disc represents a challenging environment for native disc cells or exogenous regenerative cells. Based on recent data, glucose appears in fact to be the most critical factor of the degenerative disc environment for cell survival and function. The project conducted at the B3OA proposes, therefore, to improve native disc cells and exogenous stem cell survival and function in degenerative discs by improving glucose supply with injectable glucose delivery systems. This project will provide an innovative strategy to overcome hurdles encountered by regenerative therapies for the intervertebral disc.