Regenerative medicine is an emerging, very diverse industry in an early stage of innovation - the KTN’s role to date reflects that - driving Technolgy Strategy Board investment into the sector, demonstrating the need for clinical uptake of innovation and catalysing the activity of a growing community. Through the evolution and activity of the KTN the Regenerative Medicine community now stretches across the spectrum of the industry, academia and clinical; the KTN has worked together with the Technolgy Strategy Board, existing regional and national networks and communities from other KTNs, in addition to international missions to support the growth of the community. Events have also focussed on bringing diverse communities into contact, in particular in the areas of manufacturing, bioprocessing and clinical community. The KTN swiftly reacted to the 2009-2011 RegenMed programme through events and engagement to ensure calls were well subscribed with high quality proposals. The emphasis now is on continuing to broaden the community through key projects aimed at – Identifying opportunities for cross fertilisation of new medtech technologies into the regenerative medicine sector; Strengthening KTN EU engagement and awareness for the area of regenerative medicine to maximise funding and collaboration opportunities; ensure the results and success of TSB-funded projects are disseminated as widely as possible to demonstrate capability, strength and opportunity for the sector; Scope potential new areas of cross cutting knowledge transfer activity for example the area of pre-clinical testing and continue to support TSB in new iterations of funding calls, Cell Therapy Catapult and work with key stakeholders such as the Research councils as they deliver the UK Regenerative Medicine Strategy.
- A regenerative medicine-based cure for diabetes could save the UK over £1 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
- Regenerative medicine technology could enable replacement organs to be grown within the next 20 years.
By its nature, regenerative medicine is a diverse sector . From stem cell applications to medical devices it spans in some way almost all the priority areas this KTN covers and has been a major beneficiary of the merger of the original KTNs. Through its activities, the KTN has key roles to play in connecting communities in these disciplines across industry, academia and medicine, and in catalysing the translation to commercialisation of research to products.
It is a multidisciplinary approach that spans:
- tissue engineering
- developmental and stem cell biology
- cell and gene therapies
- biomaterials (scaffolds and matrices)
- chemical biology
Regenerative medicine in the UK - The UK has always been at the forefront of developments in this field, from its origins in blood and bone marrow transplant, to the discovery of stem cell culture techniques, developments in biomaterials as bioactives and scaffolds, the first cloning of a mammal and clinical trial world firsts in the areas of tracheal transplants and stroke.
An ultimate long-term goal of KTN is to continue to support TSB and to establish a well-connected community with a strong industrial and clinical base and a marketplace in the NHS for routine use of regenerative medicine products. With its key remit to drive business growth for economic impact, it is the translational agenda that the KTN must push for this sector - the KTN’s role in this goal is set out here.
Current estimates suggest that regenerative medicine has the potential to improve the health of around 1 million people a year in the UK and to generate around £5 billion of commercial activity, and that to achieve this there would be around 15,000 highly skilled workers in the sector.
The HealthTech and Medicines KTN team draws together expertise in clinical, materials, devices and bioscience areas for regenerative medicine. Our focus is on supporting the development and growth of this emerging sector through a range of activities aimed at championing knowledge transfer for technology innovation.
The KTN’s Regenerative Medicine Priority Area covers a wide range of expertise, from biomaterial developments, testing and characterisations to the physical and chemical modification and characterisation of surfaces to cellular behaviour down to the molecular level.
Visit our Official Groups section to see the KTN’s range of technically focussed interest groups, from bioprocessing for advanced therapies to Cardiovascular Devices.
 Livesey, http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/cig/documents/Workingpaper3.pdf, p.10
 Mason, http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/cig/documents/Workingpaper3.pdf, p.20