The UK is to invest £8 million ($12.5 million) in a new center that will be dedicated to stem-cell biology and medicine, with the aim of developing new therapeutic approaches to illnesses that currently have no effective treatments. The funding will come from the UK’s Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, two of the country’s largest funders of medical research.
According to a press statement, stem cells have shown promise in potential treatments for liver disease, diabetes, blindness, spinal cord injury, and neurodegenerative disorders, and can be used to study the mechanisms of human disease. The institute, named The Wellcome Trust–Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, will bring together research scientists, technology specialists, and doctors, and will principally focus on the areas of pluripotency, haematopoiesis, epithelial tissues, neural, and cardiovascular stem cells.
“Our aim is to close the knowledge gap and to drive stem-cell research towards clinical applications,” Austin Smith, the director of the institute, said in the statement. “The world-class facilities will attract the best international talent from the fields of stem-cell biology and regenerative medicine to pursue this goal.”
An 8000 square meter facility is being purpose-built for the institute on the University of Cambridge’s Biomedical Research Campus. The location, close to one of Europe’s largest biotechnology clusters, will provide ample opportunity for industry collaboration.