The Regenerative Medicine (RegenMed) Bioprocessing Programme

Fibroblasts under a confocal microscope
“Regenerative medicine replaces or regenerates human cells, tissue or organs, to restore or establish normal function.*”

The multidisciplinary RegenMed Programme is focused on the bioprocess engineering aspects of stem cell and regenerative medicine translation including scale-up and scale-out. The aim is to facilitate the translation of the basic science into therapies for routine clinical practice. Taking a “whole bioprocessing” approach, i.e. the complete process from donor or patient biopsy all the way through to clinical implantation into the patient, requires the establishment of a number of collaborative partnerships with leading representatives of all the key stake holders groups. The RegenMed Programme therefore involves the majority of the Department’s staff including; Prof. Mike Hoare, Prof. Peter Dunnill, Prof. Gary Lye, Prof. Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Prof. Chris Mason, Dr. Frank Baganz, Dr. Dan Bracewell, Dr. Martina Micheletti, Dr. Nicolas Szita, Martin Town, Dr. Farlan Veraitch and Dr. Yuhong Zhou.

In addition to the substantial input from the faculty, the RegenMed Programme benefits from a large and growing number of external collaborators from both academia, healthcare professions and the regenerative medicine (“regen”) industry, this multidisciplinary group is advancing the translation of the basic stem cell science into safe, clinically effective and affordable therapies for deployment in routine clinical practice.

Core research areas being targeted to meet the “whole bioprocessing” goals are listed below. Collaborative doctoral and postdoctoral projects are currently under way funded by the major research councils [BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC], Technology Strategy Board (TSB), charitable trusts and industrial collaborators.

  • Scalable stem cell culture techniques
  • Automation of stem cell isolation, expansion and differentiation
  • Human embryonic stem cell derivation under GMP conditions
  • Stem cell harvesting methodologies
  • Mechanical impact of processing on stem cells
  • Dynamic control of the physiological environment during stem cell culture
  • Reprogramming cells to induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells
  • Whole cell cancer vaccine bioprocessing
  • Characterising and optimising culture conditions for clinical use
  • Clinical collaborations in the fields of ophthalmology and neurology

To complement the broad departmental thrust, the RegenMed Programme has a growing number of research links to leading academics and clinicians. Within UCL /UCLH, these include; Prof. Ivan Gout (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Dr. Alethea Tabor (Chemistry), Prof. Steven Bolsover (Physiology), Prof. Gabriel Aeppli, Prof. Mike Horton and Dr. Andrew Pelling (London Centre for Nanotechnology), Prof. Pete Coffey (Istiutute of Opthamology/The London Project to Cure Blindness), Dr. Julie Daniels (Institute of Ophthalmology/Moorfields Eye Hospital), Dr. Ian Eames (Mechanical Engineering), Prof. Asim Khwaja, Dr. Ching Cheung and Dr. Mike Watts (Haematology, UCLH). The RegenMed Programme is part of the newly established UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.

Outside UCL , the programme has established collaborations with leading representatives of all the key stakeholder groups (scientists, engineers, clinicians and regen companies) including: Dr. Tim Allsopp (Stem Cell Sciences plc with Prof. Austin Smith [Univ. of Cambridge] as a consultant), Prof. Peter Braude and Dr. Stephen Minger (King’s College London), Dr. Glyn Stacey, Dr. Roland Fleck and Dr. Lyn Healy (UK Stem Cell Bank, NIBSC), Dr. Yen Choo (Plasticell Ltd.), Prof. Peter Andrews and Prof. Harry Moore (University of Sheffield/Axordia Ltd.), Prof. Dame Julia Polak, Dr. Anne Bishop and Dr. Helen Rippon (Imperial College London), Dr. Stephen Ward (Onyvax Ltd.), Dr. Julian Braybrook and Dr. Neil Harris (LGC Ltd.)

*Mason C. and Dunnill P. (2008) A brief definition of regenerative medicine. Regenerative Medicine. 3(1), 1-5.

For further information please contact the RegenMed Programme coordinator, Chris Mason in the UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering.

  • c.mason@ucl.ac.uk

Selected RegenMed Publications

The UCL team has a proven track record of multidisciplinary collaborations and co-publications. Listed below are selected recent publications that contribute to the delivery of the RegenMed Programme goals. Authors indicated in bold are members of the staff team.

(i) Stem cell bioprocessing

Veraitch, F.S., Scott, R., Wong, J.W., Lye, G.J., Mason, C. The impact of manual processing on the expansion and directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells. Biotech Bioeng. In press/Advanced on line publication. doi:10.1002/bit.21673

Zoro, B.J.H., Owen, S., Drake, R.A.L., Hoare, M. 2007. The impact of process stress on suspended anchorage-dependent mammalian cells as an indicator of likely challenges for regenerative medicines. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, online. ISSN: 0006-3592. doi:10.1002/bit.21544

Markusen, J.F., Mason, C., Hull , D.A., Town, M.A., Tabor, A.B., Clements, M., Boshoff, C.H., Dunnill, P. 2006. Behaviour of adult human mesenchymal stem cells entrapped in alginate-GRGDY beads. Tissue Engineering. 12(4), 821-830. doi:10.1089/ten.2006.12.821

Mason, C., Hoare, M. 2007. Regenerative medicine bioprocessing: Building a conceptual framework based on early studies. Tissue Eng. 13(2), 301-311. doi:10.1089/ten.2006.0177

Mason, C., Hoare, M. 2006. Regenerative medicine bioprocessing: The need to learn from the experience of other fields. Regen Med. 1(5), 615-623. doi:10.2217/17460751.1.5.615

(ii) Imaging relating to stem cell bioprocessing

Pelling, A.E., Veraitch, F.S., Chu , C., Nicholls, B.M., Hemsley, A.L., Mason, C., Horton, M.A. 2007. Mapping of correlated cell membrane pulsations and fluctuations in human cells. Journal of Molecular Recognition. 20, 1-9. doi:10.1002/jmr.832

Mason, C., Markusen, J.F., Town, M.A., Dunnill, P., Wang, R.K. 2004. Doppler optical coherence tomography for measuring flow in engineered tissue. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 20, 414-423. doi:10.1016/j.bios.2004.03.035

Mason, C., Markusen, J.F., Town, M.A., Dunnill, P., Wang, R.K. 2004. The potential of optical coherence tomography in the engineering of living tissue. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 7(49), 1097-1116. doi:10.1088/0031-9155/49/7/002

(iii) Human embryonic stem cell standards

Stephenson, E.L., Braude, P.B., Mason, C., 2007. International community consensus standard for reporting derivation of human embryonic stem cell lines. Regen Med. 2(4), 349-362. doi:10.2217/17460751.2.4.349

Adewumi, O,, Aflatoonian, B,, Ahrlund-Richter, L., et al , 2007. Characterization of human embryonic stem cell lines by the International Stem Cell Initiative. Nat. Biotechnol. 25(7), 803-16. doi:10.1038/nbt1318

West, M.D., Mason, C. 2007. Mapping the human embryome. Regen. Med. 2(4), 329-333. doi:10.2217/17460751.2.4.329

Stephenson, E.L., Braude, P.B., Mason, C. 2006. Proposal for a universal minimum information convention for the reporting on the derivation of human embryonic stem cell lines. Regen Med. 1(6), 739-750. doi:10.2217/17460751.1.6.739

(iv) Policy and the promoting public understanding

Mason, C., Dunnill, P. 2008. A brief definition of Regenerative Medicine. Regen Med. 3(1), 1-5 doi:10.2217/17460751.3.1.1

Mason, C., Dunnill, P . 2007. Translational regenerative medicine research: Essential to discovery and outcome. Regen Med. 2(3), 227-229. doi:10.2217/17460751.2.3.227

Mason, C., Dunnill, P. 2007. Lessons from the nascent regenerative medicine industry from the biotech sector. Regen Med. 2(5), 753-756. doi:10.2217/17460751.2.5.753

Mason, C. 2007. Regenerative Medicine 2.0. Regen Med. 2(1), 11-18. doi:10.2217/17460751.2.1.11

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