Posted on Thursday 6 December 2012
Stem cells can be formed from ordinary adult cells
A new £12.75m initiative led by King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute aims to make Guy’s Hospital a ‘stem cell hotel’, where the latest scientific research is used to develop pioneering treatments.
The Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative (HIPSCI), funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, will study the effect of certain genes on health and create a catalogue of high-quality adult stem cells.
King’s will base its ‘stem cell hotel’ at Guy’s Hospital as part of HIPSCI, giving clinicians and laboratory scientists the opportunity to work together to turn scientific discoveries into treatments more quickly.
Ordinary cells of the adult body can be reprogrammed to form stem cells by effectively ‘winding the clock back’. Stem cells are particularly useful for studying diseases as they have the potential to develop into a wide range of specialised cell types.
The HIPSCI project will generate stem cells from healthy volunteers and patient groups. Using state-of-the-art techniques, researchers will conduct extensive genetic analysis on the cells.
The resulting cell collection and data set will be the UK’s most comprehensive resource for investigating how genetic variation impacts on cell behaviour and how diseases linked to a specific genetic defect can result in a broad spectrum of clinical abnormalities.
Professor Fiona Watt, Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s, said: “The Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative brings together world-leading expertise in clinical genetics, stem cell biology and genomic technologies. We believe that this research will drive forward the translation of basic research into improved diagnosis and treatment of disease.
“At King’s we also hope this will enable us to open a ‘stem cell hotel’, providing a platform for collaborative experiments between clinician scientists with in-depth knowledge of specific diseases and cell biologists who have the tools to obtain quantitative readouts of cell behaviour.”
Read more on the King’s College London website.