The CSCBThe Centre for Stem Cell Biology (CSCB) is recognized internationally as a Centre of Excellence for research on pluripotent stem cells. The research and discoveries of the CSCB are central to the long-term goal of developing clinical applications for pluripotent stem cells in regenerative medicine.

We were the first laboratory to undertake research on human embryonic stem cells in the UK in 1999 and have played a major role in training scientists in this dynamic field. The Centre complements the overall strength in Developmental Biology and Medicine at the University of Sheffield.

We coordinate the International Stem Cell Initiative, an international consortium of laboratories defining standards. It is also the  main partner in ESTOOLS, an EU funded collaboration of researchers developing technologies for embryonic stem cells.

The expertise and excellent facilities of the CSCB represents a significant opportunity for collaborative activity with all organisations involved in pluripotent stem cell research.

Pluripotent Stem Cell Platform

The CSCB was part of a successful bid to set up a new ‘Hub’ for pluripotent stem cell research as part of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform (UKRMP). The Hub will be led by the Universities of Sheffield, Loughborough and Cambridge and builds on existing capabilities within MRC and EPSRC Centres and the UK Stem Cell Bank. It will also collaborate with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Babraham Institute and will complement the work of the existing UKRMP research Hubs.

The aim of the Hub is to lay the initial foundations for scaling up the production of cell-based therapies from a ‘cottage industry’ to an industrial scale. It will develop a set of protocols for manufacturing cell therapies that meet the requirements of doctors, regulators and industry and tackle key challenges such as:

  • Making sure cells do not undergo unwanted genetic changes or become contaminated with external agents that may change the way they work.
  • Improving differentiation so that scientists can reliably turn ‘blank’ (pluripotent) cells into the type of cell they want, when they want.
  • Ensuring the right quality control systems are in place so that manufactured cell therapies are safe and suitable for use in human treatments.

Centre co-director Professor Peter Andrews who will lead the Hub, said:

“Human trials for regenerative therapies based on stem cells are now on the horizon for some conditions, including several forms of blindness. But we’re still a long way off from being able to produce cell therapies for lots of different disease at an industrial scale. The pluripotency hub brings together for the first time in the UK, researchers with the range of expertise necessary to develop the processes needed to take these cells from laboratory-based research to the commercial manufacture of safe, effective and reproducible products for use in regenerative medicine."

The hub is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

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