Cell therapy describes the process of using living cells, potentially within a medicinal product, to treat a disease. These therapies are expected to play a crucial role in future healthcare and Birmingham is now demonstrating real strength within the UK, with investments such as a new facility within the Wellcome Clinical Research Facility that will immediately be relevant in the treatment of liver and blood-related disorders. We are also gaining recognition at a national level (through our involvement in initiatives such as the Technology Strategy Board’s cell therapy catapult) as well as the international arena through our involvement in a large European-wide EU FP7 Innovative Medicines Initiative focused around the use of induced pluripotent stem cells to facilitate drug development. Furthermore, we are developing a new Cancer Immunology & Immunotherapy Centre here in the University.
So far all of these efforts have been very heavily clinically focused within the College of MDS, and in order to truly advance our capabilities and innovation to ensure that we maximise national and international opportunities, we wish to expand our interactions in this area out to the other Colleges, particularly EPS and LES. Initiatives such as the recent EPSRC call for national Centres for Sensing Systems for Healthcare Technologies, which was very focused around basic engineering alignment and push into the NHS and industrial health arenas, as well as the NIHR Healthcare Technology Cooperatives, which are to ensure pull-through of devices into healthcare, have shown that we need to be mindful and actively pursuing the collaborative potential around areas of clinical strength matched with other disciplinary expertise, particularly around engineering and physical sciences. We believe that a workshop around Cell Therapy could catalyse some of these interactions.
Internal attendees: Immunity & Infection: Phil Newsome, David Adams, Mark Cobbold, Andrew Filer, Heather Beard, Laura O’Neill, Ye Oo; Cancer Sciences: Ben Willcox, Tanja Stankovic, Fred Chen, Neil Steven; Clinical & Experimental Medicine: Gerard Nash; Chemical Engineering: Owen Thomas, Zhibing Zhang; Computer Science: Hamid Dehghani, Iain Styles; Mechanical Engineering: Daniel Espino; Chemistry: James Tucker; Zoe Pikramenou, Mike Hannon; Maths: Dave Smith; Bioscience: Kevin Chipman; Medical & Dental Science: Claire Potter
External attendees Aston University: Eustace Johnson; UCL: Paul Gissen; Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health: Miguel Esteban