A £50m research initiative, aimed at giving people ’50 active years after 50’ has been launched at Leeds University.
Recent research, published in The Lancet, found that more than half the children born in the UK and other wealthy nations will live to 100 years old.
While improvements in healthcare, diet and lifestyle are helping people to live longer, the human body still degenerates with age, reducing quality of life and an individual’s ability to contribute to society.
'50 active years after 50' is responding to this trend by developing new medical devices and regenerative therapies, ensuring that people can continue to be as active during their second half-century as they were in their first.
The research will focus on those areas most affected as people age – namely joints, spine, teeth, heart and circulation – and will develop new technologies for tissue engineering and regeneration, longer-lasting joint replacements and spinal interventions.
One company set to contribute to the ‘50 active years after 50’ initiative is York-based Tissue Regenix, developer of dCELL technology.
Working with Leeds University since 2006, the company is said to have a pipeline of dCELL products that will repair damaged knees and replace heart valves and ligaments.
Tissue Regenix said its dCELL products are made from animal tissues and function and behave almost identically to the native tissue they are designed to replace. They are also said to be compatible with all blood and cell types.
The company's dCELL products are not perceived as foreign bodies by the host tissue. This lack of rejection allows dCELL products to work by promoting the patient’s own cells, so that it gradually becomes incorporated into the surrounding tissue, repairing, replacing or providing strength and support to the repair site.
Antony Odell, chief executive officer at Tissue Regenix, said: ‘We already have one dCELL product in a human clinical trial in Europe and hope to have it on the market in mid-2010.'