Universities in Scotland to collaborate on stem cell therapy development

Researchers at the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh in Scotland will be working with the pharmaceutical industry to improve understanding of the biological processes that could form the basis of new therapies to support tissue regeneration or repair.

The National Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC) at the University of Dundee and the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the University of Edinburgh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work more closely together on translating novel biological discoveries into new stem cell therapies that could tackle a wide variety of conditions.

The UK Regenerative Medicine Platform-funded “Engineering and exploiting the stem cell niche” Hub, led by the CRM, is dedicated to increase understanding of the biology of stem cell niches and to utilise this knowledge therapeutically to improve organ regeneration through endogenous repair and cell transplantation.

Finding new drugs that can activate endogenous regenerative pathways requires the development of cell-based assays able to reproduce the complex behaviour of the cells and tissues in patients; the NPSC specialises in developing such assays so they can be systematically screened using large libraries of drug-like molecules to uncover agents that can alter cell and tissue behaviour.

The alliance between the two centres will allow novel biological discoveries from CRM to benefit from the expertise and industrial drug screening infrastructure provided by the NPSC, which will hopefully lead to new therapies.

“Stem cell medicine is coming of age. This is a great opportunity for Scottish Universities to partner with industry to ensure we can translate excellent science to new therapies that can help patients with chronic disease,” noted Professor Stuart Forbes, Director of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and co-director of the Niche Hub.


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