This page outlines the range of activities supported by the Academy to examine the current status of regenerative medicine research in the UK, and the barriers to its translation to the clinic.Ongoing
Regenerative medicine is a branch of medicine that aims to replace or regenerate human cells or tissue to restore their normal function. It involves a variety of approaches, including the use of stem cells. Regenerative medicine is an early, but promising field of biomedical research that offers an opportunity to improve health care.
This page outlines the range of activities supported by the Academy to examine the current status of regenerative medicine research in the UK, and the barriers to its translation to the clinic, including various workshops and a roundtable supported by the Academy.
Most recently, the Academy submitted a response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into regenerative medicine. The response can be downloaded from the righthand side of the page.
On the 30th October 2012, the Academy supported a joint ‘Regenerative Medicine Regulatory Workshop’ in partnership with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The joint workshop brought together members of academia, industry, regulators and funding bodies. The aim was to better understand whether the current regulatory environment is suited to support cell-based regenerative medicine research and development, what the key areas of regulatory uncertainly are, and what is needed to ensure future scientific progress. Delegates also heard case-studies of early phase trials and innovative therapies under development.
Although still in its infancy, it was considered that the UK is a leading player in regenerative medicine research. However, the workshop also highlighted that researchers currently face technical difficulties and some regulatory uncertainties that could affect the translation of research from bench to bedside.
The report of the workshop can be accessed here.
On the 18th of November 2013, the Institute of Medicine of the USA, the National Academy of Sciences, and the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) co-hosted a workshop titled ‘Stem Cell Therapies: Opportunities for Ensuring the Quality and Safety of Unregulated Clinical Offerings'. The Academy was one of the sponsors of the workshop.
The workshop brought together researchers, clinicians, and patients as well as representatives from the national scientific and medical academies, regulatory advisors, and consumer protection and patient advocacy groups.
The objectives of the workshop were to examine the current stem cell treatments being offered, and assess their clinical benefits and risks. Delegates then also discussed the global issues affecting the development of standards to govern stem cell treatments and assure their quality. There was a particular focus on unregulated and unproven therapies.
The workshop summary can be accessed here.
On the 15th of July 2014, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Medical Research and the APPG on Stem Cell Transplantation hosted a lunch meeting titled ‘Harnessing stem cells for patients and economic growth’. The Academy is one of the supporting members of the APPG on Medical Research.
This meeting brought together a wide-range of parties including scientists, clinicians, expert stakeholders, government officials, MPs and Peers. The topic of discussion focused on the potential of innovative stem cell therapies, the barriers to their use, and the growth of the UK regenerative medicine industry.
The meeting began with talks by two researchers who summarised their work and the difficulties in running clinical trials for new therapies. This was followed by a broader overview of the current stem cell research environment in the UK, and talks about initiatives to foster innovation in stem cell research and promote investment to ensure economic benefits.
The attendees then discussed a number of key issues echoing those examined at the 2012 ‘Regenerative Medicine Regulatory Workshop’. These included the need for improved collaboration between scientists and regulators, and scientists and clinicians, to ensure the potential of regenerative medicine research can be met and translated to the clinic. Other issues included how to stimulate investment in the UK regenerative medicine industry, the challenges of animal studies for pre-clinical research, and concerns about premature conclusions being drawn from clinical trials.
The meeting summary can be accessed on the AMRC website.
Following the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into Regenerative Medicine, the Government has set up a Regenerative Medicine Expert Group.
This group consists of key individuals, and representatives of key organisations, in the field of regenerative medicine.
It will develop an NHS regenerative medicine strategy in order to prepare the NHS to offer regenerative medicine treatments. The group will also monitor the effect of regulation on the development of future regenerative medicines within the UK.
The group includes two Academy Fellows; Professor Sir Michael Rawlins who chairs the group, and Professor Robin Ali, who represents the Academy.
The first meeting was held in January 2014, and the minutes can be accessed here.