Medical Research Council welcomes UK Stem Cell Initiative report

Wed 04 Jan 2006
 MRC Press release

The MRC played a part in shaping this initiative and was represented on Sir John Pattison’s panel. This has helped the MRC to develop its strategy in line with many of the recommendations of the UK Stem Cell Initiative report.  

The MRC has been working hard with other research councils to establish a critical mass of research in this area.  It’s strengthened its research through centres of excellence and the UK Stem Cell Bank.

The MRC also supports efforts to establish a strong governance structure and ethical underpinning of stem cell research in the UK.

The MRC is building up a portfolio of translational research to turn discoveries at the cellular level into benefits for patients.  

The decision, by the government in March this year, to commission the report demonstrates a commitment to this important area of comparatively new research.

The MRC’s Chief Executive, Colin Blakemore who was part of the UK SCI panel said “The MRC is at the heart of British stem cell science.  We are keen to play our part to the best of our ability to fulfil as many of the recommendations as we can of the Pattison Report. The MRC is increasing the resources it’s putting into stem cell research. We’re also planning to spend up to another five million pounds to finance the second phase of the UK Stem Cell Bank.

“We’ve worked closely with the UK Stem Cell Foundation ahead of Sir John’s report to set up a shared process to review applications for clinical trials for stem cell therapy.  We want to promote the rapid development of treatments as soon as they are shown to be valuable and safe”.

For media enquiries or to organise an interview, please contact the MRC Press Office on 020 7637 6011 Email: [email protected]

Notes for editors

1. The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a national organisation funded by the UK tax-payer. Its business is medical research aimed at improving human health; everyone stands to benefit from the outputs. The research it supports and the scientists it trains meet the needs of the health services, the pharmaceutical and other health-related industries and the academic world. MRC has funded work which has led to some of the most significant discoveries and achievements in medicine in the UK. About half of the MRC's expenditure of approximately £500 million is invested in its 40 Institutes, Units and Centres. The remaining half goes in the form of grant support and training awards to individuals and teams in universities and medical schools.

2. The MRC is already increasing the level of resources it is putting into stem cell research. It is asking its governing Council to provide a further £5m to finance Phase 2 of the Stem Cell Bank.

The MRC and the Stem Cell Foundation have set up a joint mechanism for the scientific evaluation of clinical and translational proposals. In 2006/07 and 2007/08 we will consider additional proposals as they arise and contribute up to £1m per annum to joint projects with the Foundation. If this proves to be a successful way forward, the MRC will seek to extend the collaboration to enable the MRC to jointly fund translational and clinical stem cell research projects with the UK Stem Cell Foundation.  

3. The MRC has been investing in centres of excellence in the UK to consolidate stem cell research. But all applications to the MRC for funding are judged according to peer review and excellence of the science involved.

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