Major EU-funded Research Initiative in Stem Cell Technology at NUI Galway
Friday, 1 May 2009
PurStem, a €3.5m European-wide collaborative research project, has been launched at NUI Galway with the aim of revolutionising the large scale processing of high quality adult stem cells. Stem cells have shown tremendous potential for the repair and regeneration of a large range of tissues and organs, however, the translation of this potential into functional clinical therapies requires large numbers of stem cells. PurStem aims to develop methods for producing adult stems calls in a safe and effective manner, on an industrial scale, suitable for clinical applications. PurStem is funded under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union and coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), at NUI Galway. The project brings leading researchers in stem cell science and regenerative therapy from across Europe together with small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) with specific industrial technologies and expertise. According to Professor Frank Barry of REMEDI, NUI Galway, and coordinator of PurStem: "In order for the potential of these new therapies to be realised, a consistent and plentiful supply of well-characterised stem cells is essential. There has been relatively little progress in the development of new culture technologies for the large-scale manufacture of adult stem cells. There is now a strong possibility that this limited ability to produce stem cells will result in delays to the translation of new therapies to the clinic". The team involved in PurStem seek to address the challenge of current limitations on producing adult stem cells by standardising existing adult stem cell preparation methods in partner laboratories, devising new reagents and media formulations for expansion and differentiation and by advancing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) capabilities for production. The collaborative research led by NUI Galway's REMEDI will also include the University of Genoa, Italy; Ovagen International Ltd., Ireland; the University of Leeds, UK; Pintail Ltd., Ireland; the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; and ProCure Ltd., Ireland.