Currently clinicians rely on donated supplies of umbilical cords collected nationally in banking programmes, but as new medical treatments using cord blood have been found, demand is rising and stocks are limited.
Umbilical cord blood contains immature cells with powerful properties to repair the human body. Cord blood is increasingly used instead of bone marrow to treat childhood blood cancers such as leukaemia as there are fewer problems with rejection of the material. It is effective, or being trialled, to treat other serious conditions such as organ failure, childhood brain damage or diabetes.
Cord blood cells could also potentially be developed to generate large numbers of high value red blood cells or platelets for transfusion, or immune system cells for immunotherapies. The project, 'Engineering Biological Science - Processes and Systems for Haematopoietic Stem Cell Based Therapy Manufacture' will use an engineering approach to grow blood cells in a controlled environment, test how physical conditions and chemical additives affect cell growth, and understand the relationships between cell development.
The aim of the study is to determine conditions required to grow cells in large, clinically useful numbers, and determine how tolerant the manufacturing process is for the repeated production of safe and effective cells.
Dr Thomas is a Senior Lecturer in Biomanufacturing at the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University.
2. Turning new scientific technologies into manufacturing reality. Dr Nathan Crilly, University of Cambridge, awarded an Early Career Fellowship of 1.2 million.
Science-based innovations have the potential to drive UK economic growth but developing product ideas and commercial uses can pose design challenges.
To address this problem, the EPSRC ha
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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council