Regenerative Therapies Progressing Towards The Clinic

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The road to the clinic for regenerative therapies is easier to navigate, thanks to organisations like Regener8 offering opportunities for collaboration; that was the clear message at this year’s Regener8 Annual Conference.

The conference, which took place on Thursday 27 September, was entitled ‘Regenerative Medicine: the road to the clinic’ and featured some of the leading RegenMed experts. Over 180 of the UK’s Regenerative Medicine community attended the conference, which was the largest ever event organised by Regener8.

Regener8’s Executive Director John Fisher explained to delegates that the focus of Regener8 and its partners will continue to be closing the translation gap by supporting research and innovation to develop technologies to a stage that attracts private sector investment.

He said:
“By bringing together clinicians, academics and industry involved in regenerative therapies and encouraging dialogue and collaboration, Regener8 aims to raise awareness and capability and overcome the barriers faced by many researchers in bringing regenerative treatments to the clinic.

“Over half the delegates who attended this year’s conference were from industry; Regener8’s industry membership is one of its great strengths and this is now being applied to keep companies in touch with groundbreaking work coming out of the N8 universities, ensuring that industry can easily connect with the academic base and clinicians in order to benefit patients.”

The event featured five speakers from industry and three speakers describing the clinical testing phase for regenerative approaches. Helen Berry, Research and Technical Manager of Tissue Regenix, gave a keynote presentation about the challenges that the company experienced in translating an innovative research concept into a final regulatory approved medical device product, using the example of the company’s dCELL® technology platform, developed in order to replace worn out or diseased body parts.  Another keynote address was given by Wilfried Dalemans, Chief Technical Officer, TiGenix, who discussed the development of ChondroCelect, the first Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) approved for sale in Europe.

The day also featured updates from a number of Technology Strategy Board “Developing Therapeutics” projects. Among them, Nick Skaer, from Orthox Ltd, told delegates about the progress being made on the FibroFix™ tissue scaffold, developed to treat cartilage damage that currently leads to chronic pain for thousands of people in the UK.

Professor Fisher continued:
“Having the opportunity to meet with potential collaborators, funders and clinical experts is something our members say time and again is one of the biggest advantages of being part of the Regener8 network.

“Speakers and delegates alike were overwhelmingly positive about this year’s conference and how it encourages discussion and collaboration to understand the issues around progression of regenerative technologies and therapies.”

Dr John Stageman, Chairman of the HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network for the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), said:
“It’s been fascinating and really encouraging to see how far we’ve moved forward in areas such as the transplantation of cells, the development of devices for cardiovascular, tendon and cartilage repair, and the use of scaffolds for corneal and wound repair applications.

“It was also interesting to hear an update on government plans to maintain the UK as a leading centre for cell therapy through the Catapult, and how the NHS is a major resource for the supply of human tissue for clinical use.

“Bringing together representatives from that broad a range of areas is unique to Regener8, and it really is an exemplar for the development and progression of translational approaches to regenerative medicine.”