Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

£25m to Kick-Start ‘Industrial Revolution’ in Regenerative Medicine

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Applications will include Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, wound and musculoskeletal repair, eye disorders and deafness.

£4.5m will set up a new ‘Hub’ for pluripotent stem cell research as part of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform (UKRMP), funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council (MRC). The Hub will work with the other strands of the UKRMP to tackle some of the critical challenges in developing new regenerative treatments from discoveries made in the lab.

A further £20m of capital funding from the MRC will provide state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to support the work of the UKRMP and the wider regenerative medicine research community.

Pluripotent stem cell hub

At the moment, experimental regenerative therapies involve the use of relatively small numbers of cells, usually prepared by laboratory researchers. To be able to treat the thousands of patients who could benefit from regenerative medicine, scientists ultimately need to be able to scale-up these efforts to reliably and repeatedly manufacture thousands of millions of cells under uniform and controlled conditions.

The aim of the Hub is to lay the initial foundations for scaling up the production of cell-based therapies from a ‘cottage industry’ to an industrial scale. It will develop a set of protocols for manufacturing cell therapies that meet the requirements of doctors, regulators and industry and tackle key challenges such as:
 

  • Making sure cells do not undergo unwanted genetic changes or become contaminated with external agents that may change the way they work.
  • Improving differentiation so that scientists can reliably turn ‘blank’ (pluripotent) cells into the type of cell they want, when they want.
  • Ensuring the right quality control systems are in place so that manufactured cell therapies are safe and suitable for use in human treatments.

Initially they will focus on two disease areas – Parkinson’s disease and deafness – where efforts to develop cell therapies are already well underway. The researchers will work closely with commercial companies from the start to ensure that the procedures they develop are commercially viable.

The Hub will be led by the Universities of Sheffield, Loughborough and Cambridge and builds on existing capabilities within MRC and EPSRC Centres and the UK Stem Cell Bank. It will also collaborate with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Babraham Institute and will complement the work of the existing UKRMP research Hubs.

Professor Peter Andrews, a stem cell biologist from the Centre for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield, who will lead the Hub, said:

“Human trials for regenerative therapies based on stem cells are now on the horizon for some conditions, including several forms of blindness. But we’re still a long way off from being able to produce cell therapies for lots of different disease at an industrial scale. The pluripotency hub brings together for the first time in the UK, researchers with the range of expertise necessary to develop the processes needed to take these cells from laboratory-based research to the commercial manufacture of safe, effective and reproducible products for use in regenerative medicine."

Regenerative medicine capital funding

The £20m of capital funding from the MRC will support 12 projects at UK research institutions, many of which are linked to the existing UKRMP hubs. Example awards include:
 

  • A new £10m laboratory facility, co-funded by the University of Edinburgh, located at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine. Here scientists will develop an artificial system to simulate the environment that surrounds stem cells in developing organs in the body, called the ‘niche’. The artificial niches will allow researchers to grow stem cells in a more controlled way and turn them into functioning cells that could be used to repair damaged tissue. The new UKRMP Centre for the Computational and Chemical Biology of the Niche will function as a ‘research hotel’, available to all UK regenerative medicine researchers at minimal cost to support the rapid development of innovative new regenerative therapies for patients.
  • Funding for a state-of-the-art ‘cell sorter’ at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. In recent years the UCL team has developed a pipeline of candidate cell therapies to treat a range of eye disorders including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. This equipment will allow them to identify rapidly the cells they need from a given cell population, providing an important resource to help them move into human trials.
  • Microscopic imaging equipment that will allow an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Southampton to study and observe the 3D architecture of healthy human tissues at a nanometre scale. This will allow them to create accurate artificial scaffolds for growing replacement parts from stem cells for tissues such as cartilage and bone.
  • A 3D printer and other equipment to allow scientists from Imperial College London, Nottingham University and other members of the UKRMP Acellular Hub to develop prototype biomaterials (such as scaffolds) for use in regeneration of human tissues. Potential applications of these 3D ‘smart materials’ include Parkinson's disease, wound regeneration, cartilage repair, treatments of oesophageal cancer and anterior cruciate (knee) ligament operations.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“Regenerative medicine has the potential to revolutionise the way in which we deliver therapies for a range of diseases and disorders. This new investment will allow our world-class science and research base to explore ways in which new medicines can be manufactured and commercialised. As one of the eight great technologies and a key part of our life sciences strategy, we believe regenerative medicine has the potential to transform the lives of thousands of patients.”

Dr Rob Buckle, Director of the UKRMP and Head of Regenerative Medicine at the MRC, said:

“Today’s investment through the UKRMP will help us to realise the potential of regenerative medicine to deliver new treatments for patients, while the capital support will provide additional cutting-edge technical capability in this area, helping to develop interdisciplinary programmes that will maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in the field.”


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Liver Regrown from Stem Cells
Scientists have repaired a damaged liver in a mouse by transplanting stem cells grown in the laboratory.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
MRC, GSK and Five Leading UK Universities Collaborate
Collaboration to crack difficult disease areas.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
‘Mini Bile Ducts’ used to Discover New Drugs that could Prevent Liver Damage
An experimental cystic fibrosis drug has been shown to prevent the disease’s damage to the liver, thanks to a world-first where scientists grew mini bile ducts in the lab.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
First RNAi Meiosis Screen Reveals Genes Essential to Generate Eggs
Screening techniques developed leading to the discovery of genes essential for meiosis in mammals.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Study Identifies New Way to Kill the Malaria Parasite
Scientists have discovered new ways in which the malaria parasite survives in the blood stream of its victims, a discovery that could pave the way to new treatments for the disease.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Making Vaccines More Effective In The Elderly
Compound shown to restore the immune system’s inbuilt memory.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Immune Organ Regenerated in Mice
Scientists have for the first time used regenerative medicine to fully restore a degenerated organ in a living animal.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
AstraZeneca, MRC Collaboration to Create New Centre for Early Drug Discovery
The Companies today announced the groundbreaking collaboration aimed at better understanding the mechanisms of human disease. The collaboration will see the creation of a joint research facility at AstraZeneca’s new R&D centre in Cambridge in the UK.
Monday, March 31, 2014
MRC Invests £32M to Improve Data Research
Investment will improve capability, capacity and capital infrastructure in medical bioinformatics.
Friday, February 07, 2014
Redirecting the Rules of Attraction in Fruit Flies
MRC researchers have discovered a biological switch that determines which part of the fruit fly’s brain responds to pheromones, depending on whether the fruit fly is male or female.
Friday, December 20, 2013
A Gene Mutation for Excessive Alcohol Drinking Found
UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology Alumni Awarded Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Professor Michael Levitt, Professor Arieh Warshel and Professor Martin Karplus awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Study Leads to Alzheimer's Breakthrough
Researchers at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit have used an orally-administered compound to block a major pathway leading to brain cell death in mice, preventing neurodegeneration.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
3D Tissue Grown from Stem Cells - New Model System for Brain Development
An international team of researchers has used stem cells to create a 3D structure that mimics early human brain development.
Monday, September 02, 2013
New Type of Blood Stem Cell Could Help Solve Platelet Shortage
Scientists have identified a new type of bone marrow stem cell in mice that is primed to produce large numbers of vital blood-clotting platelets.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Scientific News
RNAi Screening Trends
Understand current trends and learn which application areas are expected to gain in popularity over the next few years.
Diagnostic Test Developed for Enterovirus D68
researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a diagnostic test to quickly detect enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a respiratory virus that caused unusually severe illness in children last year.
How a Kernel Got Naked and Corn Became King
Ten thousand years ago, a golden grain got naked, brought people together and grew to become one of the top agricultural commodities on the planet.
Sweet Revenge Against Superbugs
A special type of synthetic sugar could be the latest weapon in the fight against superbugs.
New Material Opens Possibilities for Super-Long-Acting Pills
A pH-responsive polymer gel could create swallow able devices, including capsules for ultra-long drug delivery.
How To Keep Your Rice Arsenic-Free
Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have made a breakthrough in discovering how to lower worrying levels of arsenic in rice that is eaten all over the world.
New Tool For Investigating RNA Gone Awry
A new technology – called “Sticky-flares” – developed by nanomedicine experts at Northwestern University offers the first real-time method to track and observe the dynamics of RNA distribution as it is transported inside living cells.
Computer Model Could Explain how Simple Molecules Took First Step Toward Life
Two Brookhaven researchers developed theoretical model to explain the origins of self-replicating molecules.
New Tech Enables Epigenomic Analysis with a Mere 100 Cells
A new technology that will dramatically enhance investigations of epigenomes, the machinery that turns on and off genes and a very prominent field of study in diseases such as stem cell differentiation, inflammation and cancer has been developed by researchers at Virginia Tech.
Access Denied: Leukemia Thwarted by Cutting Off Link to Environmental Support
A new study reveals a protein’s critical – and previously unknown -- role in the development and progression of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a fast-growing and extremely difficult-to-treat blood cancer.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!