New centre to play vital role in future of health care

New centre to play vital role in future of health care

10 May 2011

The first stage in creating an elite centre for developing cell therapies which could transform the lives of people with serious or chronic illnesses was announced by David Willetts Minister for Universities and Science today. 

Speaking at the World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress in London he said: “Stem cells and regenerative medicines provide opportunities to deliver major health benefits to the public and the Government is committed to supporting growth in this sector. This new technology and innovation centre will help to support the development and commercialisation of cell therapies and advanced therapeutics.

 “Cell based therapies have the potential to play an increasingly vital role in delivering the next generation of healthcare. There is also a real possibility for us here in the UK to gain economic benefit from commercially exploiting this exciting area of technology.”

The cell therapy centre will be the second of a network of technology and innovation centres to be established by the Technology Strategy Board, with a government investment of more than £200 million over the next four years.

Zahid Latif, Head of Healthcare at the Technology Strategy Board which is creating the technology and innovation centre in cell therapy said: “This new centre is an exciting and important development both in terms of medical innovations and economic growth.”

“We want to create a centre of excellence which will make Britain a world leader in producing and marketing cell therapies.

“We are now looking for expressions of interest from organisations who might want to lead, form a part of or work with this new technology and innovation centre.  

“Developing cell therapies requires specialists from a range of areas working closely together. This includes developmental and stem cell biology, gene therapy, cellular therapeutics, nanoscience, biomaterials, bioengineering and chemical biology.    The clinicians delivering treatments to patients will also have an important role to play.

“Cell therapies have the potential to provide significant medical advances and have already shown impact in areas such as skin regeneration for burns patients. They are also being developed in areas such as cancer and diabetes.”

The centre will be based in the UK and support the development and commercialisation of cell therapies and advanced therapeutics.  The ultimate aim for the centre should be to increase economic growth in the sector by enabling more effective commercialisation of this new technology.

The cell therapy industry had global sales of £250M in 2008, and is predicted to grow to £1.6 billion by 2012 and £3.1 billion in 2014, with even greater growth expected to follow. Currently there are 8 approved cell therapies including Provenge (Dendrion), a cell-based prostate cancer treatment vaccine expected to generate sales of more than £1B p.a. by 2014.

 Today’s announcement started a process which will involve successful bidders being announced in October and the centre being opened in April 2012.

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Last updated on Monday 13 June 2011 at 12:40

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