Island’s first stem cell manufacturing centre approved at NUI Galway

Posted: January 27, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Embryonic stem cells have been highly valued for their ability to turn into any type of cell in the body.

Stem cells can be manufactured for human use for the first time in Ireland, following Irish Medicines Board licensing of a new facility in Galway.

NUI Galways Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland aims to culture adult stem cells to tackle conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and associated conditions.

The centre, which is one of less than half a dozen in Europe authorised for stem cell manufacture, has been developed by researchers at NUIGs regenerative medicine institute.

Stem cells serve as the bodys repair mechanism. They can be isolated from tissues such as bone marrow and fat, and cultured in laboratory settings.

More controversially, embryonic stem cells have been highly valued for their ability to turn into any type of cell in the body, but scientists can now use reprogrammed adult skin cells to create a stem cell that is very similar to embryonic versions.

The centre will be opened today by Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sen Sherlock, at a time when the Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland have approved funding there for clinical trials on using mesenchymal stem cells cells that can differentiate into a variety of types for treatment of critical limb ischemia, a condition associated with diabetes that can result in amputation.

The new centres director Prof Tim OBrien explained that the stem cells must be grown in the laboratory to generate sufficient quantities, following their isolation from the bone marrow of adult donors, and the facility will help Ireland to develop therapies for a broad range of clinical problems which do not have effective treatments today.

It will also allow us to translate discoveries from the basic stem cell research programme led by Prof Frank Barry at the Science Foundation Ireland-funded REMEDI to the clinic, and to be competitive for grant funding under the Horizon 2020 programme of the EU, he said.

Stem cell research in Ireland is in what scientists have described as a legislative lacuna, but this relates to use of embryonic stem cells and does not in any way inhibit the use of adult stem cells, Prof OBrien explained.

Excerpt from:
Island’s first stem cell manufacturing centre approved at NUI Galway

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