Page URL:

More funding needed for UK to maintain its place in regenerative medicine research

25 July 2011
Appeared in BioNews 617

Funding from private, non-profit, and public sectors will be needed for the UK to maintain its 'world leading' role in regenerative medicine, according to a recent Government strategy report.

The report commits officials to consult widely with industry and medical research charities to explore new funding options both within the UK and internationally. However, it highlights that the high cost of initial treatments 'are likely to be expensive and could challenge existing models of funding, reimbursement and commissioning'.

The report sets out ten actions the Government will take to support the sector going forward. David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, said: 'Regenerative medicine has great potential to deliver new therapies and benefit the UK economy. This report demonstrates that we retain a world leading position in this area and highlights the Government's commitment to tackling the field's strategic challenges through greater coordination and focussed support'.

Regenerative medicine is the process of creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to damage, or congenital defects. A number of medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are the result of damaged tissues or organs that the body can't heal itself. By using regenerative medicine there is hope that people with these conditions can be treated.

The report assesses the state of regenerative medicine internationally and analyses the UK's strengths, weaknesses, and areas of opportunities. Despite greater funding in the field, notably in the USA, the report notes the UK's scientific breakthroughs to date and its record of strong international research cooperation. It says regenerative medicine in the UK has more unambiguous regulatory and legislative support than in the USA.

Mr Willets emphasised that the UK will seek to maintain the existing intellectual property regime that allows patenting of stem cells, in the face of a recent opinion from the European Advocate-General that risks undermining the current position across the European Union (see BioNews 601).

The authors state the report, 'provides the UK Government with a strong evidence base on the basis of which it can coordinate funding decisions, and lays the ground-work for an agreed strategy for regenerative medicine'. However, it also cautioned that the long time-scales involved in developing regenerative medicine made it difficult to attract venture capital funding, although there was some interest from the pharmaceutical industry.

Government launches regenerative medicine call for evidence
BIS press release |  27 January 2011
Report on regenerative medicine by the Office for Life Sciences/Department of Health published
BIS press release |  18 July 2011
Strategy for UK stem cell research out today
Becky's Policy Pages |  18 July 2011
Taking Stock of Regenerative Medicine in the United Kingdom
BIS report |  18 July 2011
UK seeks to uphold lead in stem cell research
Financial Times |  17 July 2011
14 October 2013 - by Julian Hitchcock 
Since the Coalition came to power, we've grown used to its backing of science and technology. So, when the Government published its response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into Regenerative Medicine last week, there was barely a murmur from the sector as recommendation after recommendation was endorsed and translated into action....
8 July 2013 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A House of Lords committee has said the UK is currently underprepared for developments in regenerative medicine and called on the Government to act to ensure the UK maintains its leading role in the field....
20 August 2012 - by Dr Emily Culme-Seymour 
The UK House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee has launched an inquiry into cell therapy and regenerative medicine to take place this autumn...
25 June 2012 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Six major UK research funding bodies have called for the continued funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research in the EU's programme for research and development...
31 January 2012 - by Dr Dusko Ilic 
In the last few months of 2011, a couple of stories on human embryonic stem cells hit the headlines. Both were bad news for stem cell researchers...
13 June 2011 - by Gareth Johnson MP 
IVF is one of Britain's greatest inventions. Professor Robert Edwards received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his pioneering work developing this fertility treatment and - in the last week - it has been announced that he will be knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. The result of Professor Edward's work was Louise Brown, the world's first so-called 'test tube' baby. Britain, more than any other country, should be championing the use of IVF treatment...
13 September 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A federal appeals court in the US has ruled that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research may continue and an injunction placed on the funding by a lower court last month is temporarily suspended...
2 August 2010 - by Professor Sarah Franklin, Dr Nick Hopwood and Professor Martin Johnson 
In 1971, reproductive biologist Dr Robert Edwards and gynaecologist Mr Patrick Steptoe applied to the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) requesting funding for research into human in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer. Their application was rejected...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.