Cambridge University awarded £8m to build stem cell research
14 August 2012
Cambridge University will receive £8 million from the Wellcome
Trust and the UK Medical Research Council to build a world-leading
centre for stem cell biology and medicine.
The Cambridge Stem Cell Institute will advance understanding of
stem cells and their potential to treat a range of life-threatening
conditions that currently have no effective cures.
The new Institute will build on existing investment by the
Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust, uniting 30
leading research teams with expertise across the three main types of
stem cell: embryonic, adult and induced pluripotent cells. Research
scientists will work alongside technology specialists and doctors to
develop new therapeutic approaches underpinned by a strong base of
fundamental stem cell biology. Key areas of research at the
Institute include pluripotency, haematopoiesis, epithelial tissues,
and neural and cardiovascular stem cells.
It is intended that the Institute will eventually be housed in a
purpose-built 8,000 sq m facility to be constructed on the Cambridge
Biomedical Research Campus. Located in Cambridge, the Institute is
near the largest cluster of biotechnology companies in Europe,
allowing unrivalled opportunities for industry collaboration.
The potential of stem cells
Stem cells can renew themselves almost indefinitely and can
develop into any of the cell types in the body. They are an
invaluable tool for scientists studying the mechanisms of human
disease and could be used as an alternative to animal models by
pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs. They also show great
promise as potential treatments for devastating conditions such as
liver disease, diabetes, blindness and spinal cord injury and
neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease.
Professor Austin Smith, Director of the new Institute, said: "The
Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute will be an
invigorating environment for cross-fertilisation between fundamental
and translational researchers. Our aim is to close the knowledge gap
and drive stem cell research forward towards clinical applications.
The world-class facilities will attract the best international
talent from the fields of stem cell biology and regenerative
medicine to pursue this goal."
The Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute: