Warning on funding for stem cell work25th November 2008
The UK National Stem Cell Network
(UKNSCN) has warned that lack of funding is threatening the progress of UK stem cell research.
The UKNSCN said that administrative problems and financial difficulties could mean that current research will not move into "real life" treatments.
Research in the UK means that experts have used stem cells to treat blind patients. However, a number of other studies are still waiting for money or "regulatory go-ahead" to progress from animal tests to trials on human subjects.
The UKNSCN explained that fast technical advances have meant regulators are trying to "catch-up".
At present there are no regulations which research teams can use for reference.
Dr Julie Daniels, director of the Cells for Sight Tissue Bank at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said they had struggled for five years to translate their lab research into clinic treatments.
"It was very hard to gain advice from regulatory bodies. There was no one to ask 'What do we do and how do we comply?' And it's been incredibly difficult to find financial support."
UK research finds much of its funding from overseas investment, with the majority coming from America and Saudi Arabia.
A Department of Health spokesperson said they spent more than £40 million a year on funding "all types" of research.
"The Department of Health and its Gene Therapy Advisory Committee are currently working with other regulators in the field to produce a 'Regulatory Route Map' to provide further clarity on the regulatory requirements for the clinical use of stem cells."
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Title: Warning on funding for stem cell work
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9342
Date Added: 25th Nov 2008