UK government welcomes stem cell report and commits £100m for research into incurable diseases

December 6, 2005

London, 5 December 2005

Government responds to UK Stem Cell Initiative Report

The Government today announced that £100m will be made available for UK stem cell research over the next two years to help develop treatments for devastating illnesses and medical conditions for which there is currently no cure. This represents additional investment of around £50 million.

The Government welcomes the recommendations in the UK Stem Cell Initiative (UKSCI) report launched by Sir John Pattison today. The recommendations will inform the development of the UK's public investment and regulatory strategy.

The Government accepts the recommendations in the UKSCI report, and will:

* Support basic stem cell research and Centres of Excellence, the UK Stem Cell Bank, cell production facilities and clinical research in the NHS;

* Support the joint UK Stem Cell Foundation / Medical Research Council initiative to support translational stem cell research and clinical trials;

* Work towards setting up a public-private consortium to use stem cells to enhance drug discovery and development;

* Continue to ensure regulation of stem cell research is flexible and appropriate and makes use of proven expertise to review novel stem cell clinical trials eg. Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC); and

* Build on the close links established under the UK Stem Cell Initiative to provide effective forums to share knowledge, improve collaboration and provide a platform for public dialogue on stem cell research over the next decade.

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, will say at today's Advancing Enterprise conference: "Britain should be the world's number one centre for genetic and stem cell research building on our world leading regulatory regime in this area. I can today announce we are taking forward a new public-private partnership to invest in pre-commercial aspects of stem cell research and to coordinate future research."

Health Minister, Jane Kennedy says: "The Government Is extremely grateful to Sir John Pattison and the members of the UK Stem Cell Initiative for providing such a thorough and considered report on the future of stem cell research and application in the UK. This report provides a clear vision for maintaining the UK's position as a world leader in basic research, and provides a pathway to translate this research into new therapies to benefit patients.

It is important we continue our long-term commitment to stem cells. They have the potential to help millions of people and could lead to new treatments for serious diseases for which there is currently no cure."

Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury says: "The UK is a world leader on stem cell research and governance. The UK Stem Cell Initiative has provided strong recommendations that Government will build on to maintain our world leading position in the future.

"We will also continue to support and promote the development of stem cell technologies through funds such as the Technology Programme, which has already identified regenerative medicine as a priority for its Autumn 2005 competition."

Notes to editors

1. For a more detailed response to the UKSCI report please visit http:///www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/H ealthAndSocialCareTopics/StemCell/fs/en

2. The UK Stem Cell Initiative (UKSCI) was established by the Chancellor in his March 2005 Budget. UKSCI was charged with developing a ten-year vision and costed strategy for UK stem cell research, for implementation between 2006-2015. For more information on the UKSCI please visit I http:///www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/uks ci/index.htm

Department of Trade and Industry
News release P/2005/381
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