Prof Chris Mason

Prof Chris Mason

Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing

Dr. Chris Mason


Prof. Chris Mason
Chair of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing
Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering
University College London
Bernard Katz Building
Gordon Street
London WC1H 0AH
chris.mason [at]
T. +44 (0)20 7679 9567 [Direct]

Research area

Cell and gene therapy bioprocessing, translation and commercialisation

Research summary

Cell and gene therapies have the potential to transform patients’ lives, however, in order for these advanced therapies to be part of routine clinical practice they must be readily available at a price that is acceptable to healthcare providers such as the NHS. The traditional approaches for taking discoveries from the laboratory to make new pharmaceutical drugs does not work when living cells are the actual “drug”.  Thus new methodologies, equipment and infrastructure are required to enable cell and gene therapies to deliver on their substantial promise to produce a step-change in patient care. There are a number of specific bottlenecks to overcome including:

  • Scalable and reproducible manufacturing
  • Clinical trial design and execution
  • Regulation and reimbursement
  • Logistics and business models

Working with leading clinicians, government organisations and industry partners, the focus is on finding cost-efficient solutions to these challenges by approaching them in an integrated manner since they are not stand-alone issues but highly interconnected. For example, to achieve an acceptable cost of goods for a therapy requires a deep understanding of all the interactions between the different challenges and the stakeholders responsible, including the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the NHS and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Patient involvement

I am a clinician-scientist involved with a number of clinical trials at the Royal Free NHS Trust, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and other UK hospitals as well as internationally.

Medical qualifications

PhD, Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, University College London 2003
FRCS, Royal College of Surgeons of England 1999
FRCSI, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 1999 
MB BS, United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospitals (now King’s College London) 1994

Recent publications

Lane, A., Philip, L.R., Ruban, L., Fynes, K., Smart, M., Carr, A., Mason, C., Coffey, P. (2014) Engineering efficient retinal pigment epithelium differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cells and Translational Medicine. 3(11): 1295-1304

Tarunina, M., Hernandez, D., Johnson, C.J., Rybtsov, S., Ramathas, V., Jeyakumar, M., Hook, L., Medvinsky, A., Mason, C., Choo, Y. (2014) Directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells using a bead-based combinatorial screening method. PLOS ONE, Published: September 24, 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104301

Fynes, K., Tostoes, R., Ruban, L., Weil, B., Mason, C., Veraitch, F.S. (2014). The differential effects of 2% oxygen preconditioning on the subsequent differentiation of mouse and human pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cells and Development, 23(16), 1910-1922

Viswanathan, S., Keating, A., Deans, R., Hematti, P., Prockop, D., Stroncek, D., Stacey, G., Weiss, D.J., Mason, C., Rao, M. (2014). Soliciting strategies for developing cell-based reference materials to advance MSC research and clinical translation. Stem Cells and Development, 23(11), 1157-1167

Bain, O., Detela, G., Kim, H., Mason, C., Mathur, A., Wall, I.B. (2014). Altered hMSC functional characteristics in short-term culture and when placed in low oxygen environments: implications for cell retention at physiologic sites. Regenerative Medicine, 9(2), 153-165

Mason, C., Mason, J., Culme-Seymour, E. J., Bonfiglio, G. A., Reeve, B. C. (2013). Cell therapy companies make strong progress from October 2012 to March 2013 amid mixed stock market sentiment. Cell Stem Cell, 12(6), 644-647

Hussain, W., Moens, N., Veraitch, F.S., Hernandez, D., Mason, C., Lye, G.J. (2013). Reproducible culture and differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells using an automated microwell platform. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 77(100), 246-257

Partington, L., Mordan, N.J., Mason, C., Knowles, J.C., Kim, H.W., Lowdell, M.W., Birchall, M.A., Wall, I.B. (2013). Biochemical changes caused by decellularization may compromise mechanical integrity of tracheal scaffolds. Acta Biomaterialia. 9(2), 5251-5261

Mondragon-Teran, P., Tostoes, R., Mason, C., Lye, G. J., Veraitch, F. S. (2013). Oxygen-controlled automated neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. Regenerative Medicine, 8(2), 171-182

Prestwich, G. D., Bhatia, S., Breuer, C. K., Dahl, S. L. M., Mason, C., McFarland, R., McQuillan, D. J., Sackner-Bernstein, J., Schox, J., Tente, W. E., Trounson, A. (2012). What is the greatest regulatory challenge in the translation of biomaterials to the clinic? Science Translational Medicine, 4(160)

Mason, C., McCall, M. J., Culme-Seymour, E. J., Suthasan, S., Edwards-Parton, S., Bonfiglio, G. A., Reeve, B. C. (2012). The global cell therapy industry continues to rise during the second and third quarters of 2012. Cell Stem Cell, 11(6), 735-739

Bubela, T., Reshef, A., Li, M. D., Atkins, H., Caulfield, T., Culme-Seymour, E., Gold, E.R., Illes, J., Isasi, R., McCabe, C., Ogbogu, U., Piret, J., Mason, C. (2012). Enabling advanced cell therapies (EnACT): Invitation to an online forum on resolving barriers to clinical translation. Regenerative Medicine, 7(6), 735-740

Badger, J. L., Byrne, M. L., Veraitch, F. S., Mason, C., Caldwell, M. A., Wall, I. B. (2012). Hypoxic culture of human pluripotent stem cell lines is permissible using mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Regenerative Medicine, 7(5), 675-683

Roberts, I., Baila, S., Rice, B., Janssens, M. E., Nguyens, K., Moens, N., Ruban, L., Hernandez, D., Coffey, P., Mason, C. (2012). The scale-up of human embryonic stem cell culture using a hollow fibre bioreactor. Biotechnology Letters, 34(12), 2307-2315

Eames, I., Chau, G., Landeryou, M., Town, M., Levy, M. S., Lye, G. J., Hoare, M., Mason, C. (2012). Study of a novel tube forming method for preparing engineered blood vessel. Chemical Engineering Science, 84(24), 533-539

Culme-Seymour, E. J., Edwards-Parton, S., Davie, N. L., Brindley, D. A., Mason, C. (2012). A decade of cell therapy clinical trials (2000-2010). Regenerative Medicine, 7(4), 455-462

Culme-Seymour, E. J., Mason, C. (2012). The little purple book, 2nd edition: Cell therapy and regenerative medicine glossary. Regenerative Medicine, 7(3), 263-264

Brindley, D. A., Davie, N. L., Sahlman, W. A., Bonfiglio, G. A., Culme-Seymour, E. J., Reeve, B. C., Mason, C. (2012). Promising growth and investment in the cell therapy industry during the first quarter of 2012. Cell Stem Cell, 10(5), 492-496

Notara, M., Hernandez, D., Mason, C., Daniels, J.T. (2012). Characterization of the phenotype and functionality of corneal epithelial cells derived from mouse embryonic stem cells. Regenerative Medicine, 7(2), 167-178

Brindley, D., Mason, C., Reeve, B. (2012). Pharmaceutical industry: Investors unfazed by drug-patent expiry. Nature, 481(7381), 265

Brindley, D., Mason, C. (2012). Human embryonic stem cell therapy in the post-Geron era. Regenerative Medicine, 7(1), 17-18

Brindley, D. A., Davie, N. L., Culme-Seymour, E. J., Mason, C., Smith, D. W., Rowley, J. A. (2012). Peak serum: implications of serum supply for cell therapy manufacturing. Regenerative Medicine, 7(1), 7-13

Davie, N.L., Brindley, D.A., Culme-Seymour, E.J. and Mason, C. (2012). Streamlining cell therapy manufacture. BioProcess International, 10, 24–29

Bae, D., Mondragon-Teran, P., Hernandez, D., Ruban, L., Mason, C., Bhattacharya, S. S., Veraitch, F. S. (2012). Hypoxia enhances the generation of retinal progenitor cells from human induced pluripotent and embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells and Development, 21(8), 1344-1355

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