The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), a centre of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has signed an agreement with University College London (UCL) to maximise and further promote scientific collaboration in the field of advanced therapies.

Advanced therapies are new medical products based on genes (gene therapy), cells (cell therapy) and tissues (tissue engineering). These advanced therapies hold huge potential for the treatment of a number of diseases or injuries, such as in burns victims, Alzheimer’s, cancer or muscular dystrophy.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recognises the great promise that these advanced therapies hold in preventing and treating illness, restoring health and saving lives. As part of the agreement NIBSC and UCL will collaborate and share knowledge and resources to help support the development of safe and effective advanced therapies. The agreement also recognises the unique and critical roles that both organisations play in providing the research community with knowledge and expertly maintained research materials and standards that will aid the development of advanced therapies.

Professor Mary Collins, Head of the Advanced Therapies unit at NIBSC said:

“Advanced therapies such as stem cell treatments have huge potential in directly targeting and treating a range of conditions. Closer working with University College London will greatly help to take forward studies that focus on therapeutic areas of gene and cell therapies.

“It will help to develop a group of world-class UK scientists to underpin the development of the UK as a centre for research and manufacture in gene therapy, stem cell therapy and tissue engineering.”

Professor Sir John Tooke, UCL Vice-Provost (Health) and Head of the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences, said:

“This link up with NIBSC will help to promote scientific collaboration in the fields of gene therapy, stem cell therapy and tissue engineering to facilitate studies into the properties and potential clinical applications of advanced therapies.

“Mutual staff exchange visits and secondments will also help to develop research collaboration and share best practices. We are delighted that UCL Professor Mary Collins will now go on to lead the NIBSC Division of Advanced Therapies and are confident that she has the vision to drive the field forward.”



Posted on the UK MHRA website on 30 September 2014