Stem cells and regenerative medicine in Scotland

Stem cells and regenerative medicine

Over the last ten years, Scotland has capitalised on its world-leading research expertise in stem cells and regenerative medicine by investing in the infrastructure and commercial support necessary to create a viable industry cluster and supply chain as well as a strong inclusive and collaborative community.

Scotland is now looking to build on this platform, as reflected in the new strategy: Regenerative Medicine Scotland: Collaboration, Innovation, Translation

Scotland's reputation as one of the leading locations for the development of new tools and technologies, as well as the clinical assessment of new cell-based therapies, is due both to its connectivity and also to its comprehensive translational, clinical, analytical and regulatory support mechanisms.

Setting up and conducting such clinical trials is made more efficient in Scotland thanks to several unique organisations and services:

NHS Research Scotland offers a route for fast and efficient approval of multi-centre clinical studies

• The Scottish Research Database Application (SreDA) is a single, national database of 5.3 million patient records enabling rapid clinical trial recruitment

Health Sciences Scotland is a partnership of medical universities and their sister NHS Health Boards in Scotland to promote excellence in the field of clinical and translational medicine

Generation Scotland collects and stores tissues and genetic and health information from over 30,000 family members allowing diseases to be tracked through the generations. Phenotyped tissue samples can be used to develop disease-specific iPS cell lines which are of particular interest as novel drug discovery tools

The UK Stem Cell Foundation has created a Scottish Fund ,open to companies, academics and clinicians to support stem cell research in Scotland, with the aim of speeding the transition into practical treatments and therapies for patients • NHS Scotland Clinical Fund

Research and Translational activities have been facilitated by:

Edinburgh BioQuarter - a $1.2bn development offering commercial facilities co-located with a world-class teaching hospital and a leading research university.

With a focus on innovation, industrial collaboration and commercialisation, it is also home to the largest group of stem cell researchers in the UK

The Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine Building - a new, state-of-the-art, $90m research facility home to the Medical Research Facility Centre for Regenerative Medicine (MRC-CRM) located at Edinburgh BioQuarter.

The centre has GMP and commercialisation facilities and houses over 220 researchers with expertise encompassing embryonic, foetal and adult (including iPS) stem cells

• Expertise in GMP cell line production (Roslin Cells) and the manufacture of therapeutic candidates (Angel Biotechnology)

The Paul O'Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, within the University of Glasgow's Institute of Cancer Sciences, has a major focus on the haemopoietic stem cell which is weakened to cause many different forms of leukaemia. The Centre's aim is to perform basic research to identify novel therapeutic targets for leukaemia and translate its laboratory findings into new effectiveness medicines for patients.

• Expertise across Scotland in stem cell applications for specific conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, blood disorders and neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's disease

High profile projects and ongoing clinical trials include:

• The Wellcome Trust 'Blood Pharma' project - a major initiative exploring the production of large volumes of red blood cells from stem cells

• The ReNeuron stroke trial, 'PISCES' - conducted in Scotland at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board and led by Professor Keith Muir. Edinburgh-based Angel Biotechnology is providing manufacturing support for this trial

• A corneal epithelial stem cell trial - currently being undertaken in Edinburgh and led by Professor Bal Dhillon

• The pancreatic islet programme - a collaboration between Scottish Liver/Pancreas Transplant Unit and SNBTS, commenced in January 2011 and now represents 50 percent of the UK's activity

Further insights from Scottish Development International

For a comprehensive overview of Scotland's expertise in stem cells and regenerative medicine visit the Scottish Development International website.

Download the new stem cells and regenerative medicine brochure which includes a directory of companies providing such support as cell line supply, screening tools, scale up and manufacturing logistics, supporting technologies and reagents, and also QA/QC.

Join the conversation on LinkedIn

Connect with the Scottish regenerative medicine community through the Regenerative Medicine Scotland LinkedIn Group.