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Inquiry launch: Regenerative medicine

30 July 2012

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee have launched an inquiry into regenerative medicine - methods to replace or regenerate human cells, tissues or organs in order to restore (or establish) normal function.

The UK is a world leader in many areas of regenerative medicine and the Committee say in its call for evidence that as well as the potential medical benefits - which might include improvements in the treatment of chronic diseases - regenerative medicine has the potential to generate economic growth for the companies developing therapies and the UK economy.

The Committee will consider whether the UK is in a position to support the translation of knowledge from world-leading research in the field of regenerative medicine to treatments, and to benefit from the associated commercial opportunities.

Some of the questions the Committee are asking are:

  • How does the UK rank internationally in regenerative medicine? What are the UK’s strengths and weaknesses in the field? Who are the major funders?
  • Is the science being translated into practical applications? What treatments are available on the NHS and privately? What is the potential for regenerative medicine in the next 5-10 years?
  • What regulatory barriers and challenges to innovation are there in this inter-disciplinary field? How can these be overcome?
  • What is the current and potential value of the sector to the UK economy?
  • Is the Government doing enough to attract investment in companies working in this area? What business models are most appropriate to support development in this area?
  • What can the UK learn from international competitors about supporting the development and commercialisation of regenerative medicine? What risks do UK citizens face when travelling to other countries for regenerative treatments?

Commenting, Lord Krebs, Chair of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, said:

"Regenerative medicine is a most exciting area of medicine which is rapidly developing and could  potentially deliver real improvements in health care. The UK has an excellent track record of research in this area, but we want to find out if Government is doing enough to address regulatory barriers and challenges to innovation in this field.

Regenerative medicine has the potential not only to lead to significant improvements in the treatment of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and certain kinds of blindness, but also to be a driver of growth for the pharmaceutical sector, thus contributing to the growth of UK Plc.

We welcome evidence from anyone with experience or knowledge of the sector."