Scientists who produced a study that could influence the delivery of drugs to people suffering a form of back problem have been awarded a prestigious prize.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham won two out of three categories of the annual International Society for the Study of Lumbar Science Prize for Lumbar Spine Research.
Their study looked at the degeneration of the soft discs between bones of the spine that allow it to bend and flex – known as the intervertebral discs.
Delivery of drugs to the area can be an issue due to the fact the discs lack their own blood supply. By injecting volunteers with a traceable liquid, the research identified how drugs move across the discs – either by diffusion or through a process which sweeps water in and out of the disc.
The results of the two-year study could help inform medical professionals how best to manage the condition, either by injecting drugs directly into the discs or through the development of slow-release drug-delivery methods.
Discovering how liquid moves in and out of the discs could also help doctors control the dosage more effectively and decide the best time of the day to administer the medicine.
Copyright Press Association 2009