UCL News


'Advanced Cell & Tissue Therapies' report

6 February 2007

In September 2006, a DTI sponsored mission led by Dr Chris Mason (UCL Biochemical Engineering) visited the USA to investigate the state of their stem cell and regenerative medicine sector.

global watch mission report The subsequent report 'Advanced Cell & Tissue Therapies' is now available. 

The mission team was made up of eight experts in the field, the majority from UK biotechnology companies and specialist manufacturers plus one academic, Dr Mason, who is acknowledged as one of the UK's foremost experts in stem cell and regenerative medicine translation and bioprocessing.

The report describes the outcomes from a weeklong mission visiting the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) plus all the leading Californian companies working in the field of advanced cell and tissue therapies including Geron and Advanced Cell Technology and draws conclusions for UK policy. California was selected as it is currently at the forefront of both US and global activities in the sector.  

Outlining the technology seen and the issues it raises for those concerned with commercial activity in this field, the report goes on to address the insights gained from the mission, and the US companies' views of the UK industry, followed by recommendations for future actions and analysis of how the NHS could relate to UK commercial activity and how research councils could contribute.

Dr Mason said: "The UK faces major healthcare challenges, firstly meeting the prospect of an ageing population, bringing additional demands for all kinds of healthcare, but particularly for the treatment of degenerative diseases. Secondly, many countries have recognised that healthcare technologies are worth assigning top priority. They are knowledge-intensive and can justify a high price if they replace current, poorer alternatives with a better outcome. Taking into account social services and home nursing needs as well as the initial treatment, over time, new approaches will be of lower cost as well as greatly enhancing the quality of life."

"Because the UK must deal with ageing, and is unlikely to be able to compete globally on less sophisticated technologies, the sector of advanced cell and tissue therapies is a crucial one for which to build coherent short and long term strategies," he added. "Part of this process must be to understand progress in other countries."

Image 1: Cover of 'Advanced Cell and tissue therapies' report

Image 2: Left to right:
Dr Zach Hall - President, CIRM
Dr Chris Mason - Mission Leader, (UCL Biochemical Engineering)
Robert Klein - Chairman, Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, CIRM