TSB funds regenerative-medicine projects

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is investing over £5m to support the research and development in the UK of new regenerative-medicine products, tools and technologies.

16 research and development projects in the field of regenerative-medicine therapeutics are to receive a total of £3.6m of investment, while a further £1.6m is to be invested in 12 feasibility studies in the area of regenerative-medicine tools and technologies.

The funding for therapeutics research will enable the companies involved to accelerate product development to take advantage of future market opportunities.

Feasibility-study funding will enable companies to explore opportunities to develop platform tools and technologies to overcome product-development challenges, including safety/efficacy testing and manufacturing.

One project concerns the preclinical control of stem cells using functionalised self-assembling hydrogels

According to a statement, the study will develop a platform technology in the form of biocompatible hydrogels. They will be capable of reversible, tuneable self-assembly; nano-ordered presentation of biosignals to resident cells; and delivering, through these properties, reproducible preclinical stem-cell cultures.

The study, which involves Avanticell Science and Brighton University, is expected to deliver proof of principle that nano-engineered hydrogels mimicking the stem-cell niche environment facilitate the preclinical processing of stem-cell populations.

The investment is part of a £21.5m programme of competitions, managed by the TSB, in the area of regenerative medicine.

In January 2010, the board announced its first investments through the programme, with 31 feasibility studies receiving £2.8m of funding while three major collaborative research and development projects received a further £2.3m.

Doctors could soon be able to use 3D printing to produce blood vessels and even whole organs. Click here to read how it is done.