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Government cash injection for University spin-out company’s stem cell research

25.01.2005


A spin-out company from the University of Nottingham has been awarded around £250,000 of Government funding to develop innovative stem cell therapies that could one day provide new treatments for patients suffering from illnesses including Parkinson’s disease and stroke.

RegenTec, a company at the cutting-edge of regenerative medicine that specialises in the development of stem cell and tissue engineering technology, is a partner in two projects that have attracted a total of £3.7 million from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Technology Programme.

The first award, made to a five-partner consortium led by the company ReNeuron, will bring together science and industry experts to develop new stem cell products for commercial use in treating neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, as well as other illnesses including diabetes, blindness and cardiac disease.



RegenTec will be working on the development of delivery systems that provide a supportive environment for stem cells. Once administered, the stem cells either encourage the growth of tissue by triggering the body’s own repair processes or themselves begin to grow and form new tissue.

The second project, led by the company NovaThera, will aim to develop our understanding of the way in which cells grow and develop into specific cells for different functions. The research, which will initially focus on cells to repair bone, lung and liver tissue, will look at ways in which this growth can be effectively controlled or manipulated.

RegenTec specialises in the development of a range of materials that can be injected to deliver cells directly to the area of the body where they are needed. The materials are designed to solidify upon injection to create templates for tissue repair known as scaffolds. The scaffolds aim to enhance the survival and function of the stem cells and provide a controlled environment that encourages the cells to grow. Research will also be carried out into ways of taking scarce stem cells and growing a larger supply for use in treating a range of patients and diseases.

RegenTec, which is based at BioCity, Nottingham’s groundbreaking new healthcare and bioscience innovation centre, was set up four years ago by The University of Nottingham’s Professor Kevin Shakesheff.

Welcoming the DTI grant funding, Professor Shakesheff said: "Stem cell technology could revolutionise the treatment of life-threatening or long-term diseases. These awards confirm RegenTec’s position as a key partner in advancing regenerative medicine from The University of Nottingham’s world-class research labs through to patient treatments.

"I’m delighted that the partnership between the University and RegenTec is again generating biotech jobs at BioCity Nottingham."

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

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