New online toolkit will improve quality and speed of stem cell research
Stem cell researchers in the UK will, for the first time, benefit from a new online resource that will allow them to plan a regulatory route for their research, Minister for Public Health Gillian Merron said today.
The website known as the “UK Stem Cell Tool Kit”, will allow researchers to build a customised ‘map’ outlining all of the regulatory steps to take their ideas for a new treatment from the laboratory to patients.
Researchers will be asked seven key questions. Depending on their answers, a unique ’route’ generates on-screen, which provides them with all the regulatory requirements, information and points of contact within the relevant organisations to enable them to take their projects forward.
The Tool Kit can be accessed at www.sc-toolkit.ac.uk, and has been developed in response to calls from some UK stem cell researchers to clarify the regulatory requirements for research in the UK.
Minister for Public Health, Gillian Merron, said
“Stem cell research is a field that promises new and better treatments for many devastating conditions like Parkinson's Disease and Diabetes. Researchers wanted clearer guidance on regulation for research projects in the UK, so that is what the government have delivered.
"The launch of the UK Stem Cell Tool Kit will make it quicker and easier for researchers to identify the right regulation to allow them to explore new treatments for an NHS of the future".
The website has been developed by the Department of Health along with the Medical Research Council (MRC), Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC), Human Tissue Authority (HTA), Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Home Office and the UK Stem Cell Bank.
Welcoming the launch Dr Sandy Mather, Director of Regulation at the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), said:
"For the first time scientists have access to a single resource that will help them navigate regulation from the bench to the clinic.
“The Tool Kit demonstrates the commitment of regulators, government and funders to work together to help stem cell scientists in the UK translate basic stem cell research into clinical outcomes and commercial benefits.”
Professor Brendon Noble of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh said:
“This will be an important tool in therapy development planning. It will also act as a focus for discussion over key issues and roadblocks to the development of cell based therapies
Notes to editors
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