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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K00705X/1
Title: Engineering Biological Science - Processes and Systems for Haematopoietic Stem Cell Based Therapy Manufacture
Principal Investigator: Thomas, Professor RJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre TAP Biosystems
Department: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 30 September 2013 Ends: 30 September 2019 Value (£): 1,294,482
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Tissue engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Nov 2012 Manufacturing the Future Fellowships Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Umbilical cords are traditionally discarded after childbirth as medical waste. However, over the past few decades it has become apparent that the cord contains a small amount of immature blood cells with powerful properties to repair the human body. Cord blood is now frequently used instead of bone marrow to treat childhood blood cancers (leukaemia). Cord blood cells can also be grown to generate very large numbers of red blood cells or platelets for transfusion, or, if processed differently to create immune system cells. More recently cord blood has been proven effective, or is being clinically trialled, for a wide range of serious conditions such as organ failure, childhood brain damage or diabetes.

Despite national cord blood collection and banking programmes since the early 1990's, the success of these new clinical applications will lead to unsustainable demand on already strained stocks of cord blood. In this Fellowship I intend to develop tools to help manufacture large quantities of medicinally valuable cord blood cells from the small samples retrieved at child birth. This will form the basis of a manufactured blood related bio-products industry.

We will use a new technology to grow the cells in small vessels under very controlled conditions. These vessels will let us quickly and efficiently test different physical conditions (such as oxygen and acidity) and novel chemical additives on the growth of the blood cells. We will use engineering approaches to control the cells' environment in novel ways, and understand the relationships between the cells' development. We will demonstrate the conditions and systems that are necessary to grow these cells to large and clinically useful numbers. We will also understand how tolerant the manufacturing process is for repeated production of safe and effective cells.

My proposed research will help the clinical community deliver a new cohort of treatments for serious diseases to patients in the UK as well as help develop an important new economic activity in the UK in the development of these new types of cell based therapies.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk