Goal 9 - Be at the forefront of international efforts to harness the potential of stem cells.
Be at the forefront of international efforts to harness the potential of stem cells
There will be a well developed programme of research in the UK with the necessary expertise and infrastructure to carry out internationally competitive research aimed at using the body’s own cells to replace worn out joints in disorders such as osteoarthritis
How we will measure progress?
We will evaluate the impact of the research we support in this area in terms of its specific achievements and potential to have a wider impact on the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Where we are now?
Osteoarthritis is evident by the loss of cartilage because of a degenerative process which is not well understood. Although there are drug treatment options to prevent or slow the process once started, for most patients the cartilage loss is irreversible. It is now possible to grow cartilage cells and even to convert stem cells both inside and outside the body) into the material to make new cartilage. The challenge is to enhance this process so it can safely produce cartilage of sufficient quality to treat joints such as the knee. The process will also need to be cheap and rapid for large scale NHS use. There is enough evidence to suggest that investment should be directed towards bringing all this expertise and experience together.
What we will be doing?
- Supporting a broad portfolio of world class research in this area
- Establishing at least one world class centre covering all the different expertise needed to develop and test approaches that can regenerate large areas of cartilage in a manner that would be appropriate for widespread use
- Supporting studies aimed at translating the outputs of this research to patient benefit