Giant leap for C21st medicine

22 Jan 2010 00:00:00.000

PA 12/10 
World-leading research into Regenerative Medicine pioneered at The University of Nottingham has taken a step closer to creating a new kind of healthcare industry.


An £8.3 million Centre for Innovative Manufacturing is to be set up to develop the products and systems that will allow doctors and clinicians to administer new regenerative treatments for chronic disease and age-related health problems.


Regenerative Medicine uses groundbreaking therapies like stem cell treatment and tissue engineering, with pharmaceutical therapies and surgical techniques involving new medical devices. It is creating new treatments to allow damaged, diseased or defective tissues to work normally again. Now the research is at the stage where a bespoke manufacturing and translational research arm is vitally needed to develop the products and techniques that are being pioneered.

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To that end, The University of Nottingham has teamed up with colleagues at the Universities of Loughborough and Keele to establish the new Centre, thanks to funding from the government’s research funding body, the Engineering and Physcial Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners. The Centre, to be led by Loughborough, is one of three new Innovative Manufacturing Research Centres announced by Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson to help UK businesses and research institutions develop the technology products of the future.


One example of a current Regenerative Medicine research project at The University of Nottingham is the use of skeletal stem cells to make new bone grow faster and stronger after a fracture. The research has already helped to produce polymer materials that fill the space left by trauma — such as a break or the removal of a tumour. These materials temporarily support the wound and provide a surface for the body's own stem cells to migrate to, encouraging new blood vessels and bone tissue to grow.


The new Manufacturing Centre will develop the clinical and production opportunities for this type of cutting edge medicine to translate the research into real-life healthcare solutions available, through industry, to clinicians and patients across the world. One of its many important functions will be to investigate the methods needed to produce and manufacture high volumes of stem cells which are the basis for many successful techniques of Regenerative Medicine. 


Professor of Advanced Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering at The University of Nottingham, Kevin Shakesheff said: “The Nottingham teams who will be part of the new Centre have pioneered important new science in tissue engineering. By working with Loughborough, Keele and the numerous commercial partners that form the Centre we will accelerate the difficult translation of this new science into new products, originated in the East Midlands, that address worldwide medical needs.” 


Professor of Healthcare Engineering at Loughborough, David Williams, added: “Without doubt, RM has massive potential — especially for tackling chronic, debilitating conditions like heart disease and arthritis that will become increasingly prevalent due to our ageing population. Yet it’s not enough simply to come up with clever ideas for curing such conditions. It’s about translating ideas into safe, affordable, cost-effective treatments that combine life-changing impact for patients with maximum commercial value.”


Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive of EPSRC, the UK’s largest government agency for scientific research and skills, said: “EPSRC’s new manufacturing centres will focus on areas of pioneering research that have the potential to create new industries and new jobs for the UK.”


The Centre will launch in mid-2010 and will fund a team of more than 12 scientists and engineers over a four year period. It hopes to attract inward investment by offering world leading translational skills to companies in the regenerative medicine field.   



— Ends —


Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives

(www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.


About the EPSRC: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £850 million a year in research and postgraduate training to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Kevin Shakesheff on +44(0)115 951 5104, kevin.shakesheff@nottingham.ac.uk

More University of Nottingham news: http://communications/nottingham.ac.uk



Emma Rayner

Emma Rayner - Media Relations Manager

Email: emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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