Pluripotent Stem Cell Hub
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. 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.
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 also collaborate with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Babraham Institute and will complement the work of the existing UKRMP research Hubs.
The hub is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
For further information visit: http://www.ukrmp.org.uk/2013/09/25m-to-kick-start-industrial-revolution-in-regenerative-medicine/