We are keen to support high quality research into stem cells and regenerative medicine that:
- improves our understanding of fundamental stem cell biology and regenerative processes
- applies the emerging technologies to improve human health.
Advanced therapeutics (including cell and gene therapy, regenerative medicine and innovative medicines) is one of three MRC-wide opportunity areas that apply to all boards and panels, used to help prioritise applications for funding.
Our four research boards fund science that enhances our knowledge of the biology of health and disease and new approaches to treatment, including fundamental or investigative research, for example hypothesis-led research seeking to:
- understand developmental processes relevant to regeneration
- understand the mechanisms of self-renewal or reprogramming, or understand the factors that drive differentiation of stem or progenitor cells down a particular lineage
- characterise stem cell populations and their niche
- explore the use of stem cells to probe disease mechanisms
- develop tools and technologies, for example, for disease modelling or bioengineering
- undertake early preclinical investigations into potential regenerative therapies, including tissue repair strategies or mechanisms to enhance endogenous repair.
The choice of which board to submit to will depend upon the nature of the work and the disease being investigated. Basic stem or progenitor cell research of a more generic nature should be directed to the Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board. Regenerative medicine research that moves beyond underpinning biological mechanisms and focuses on particular organs or tissues and associated dysfunction or disease, other than haematology, are more likely to align with one of the other research boards:
Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme
The Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme is a key part of our Translational Research Strategy and supports the translation of fundamental discoveries toward benefits to human health. It funds the pre-clinical development and early clinical testing of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including repurposing existing therapies.
Regenerative medicine research projects are eligible for all our training investments. More information about training grants is available, specifically for fellowships and studentships.
UK stem cell line registry
The Steering Committee for the UK Stem Cell Bank and use of Stem Cell Lines publishes the UK stem cell line registry, which identifies all human embryonic stem cell lines approved for use in the UK. We will not support research using human embryonic stem cell lines that the steering committee has not approved.
Read the UK stem cell line registry.
UK Stem Cell Bank
The UK Stem Cell Bank provides ethically-sourced and quality controlled human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines and other associated materials to researchers worldwide, and aims to facilitate high quality and standardised research in this area. The bank publishes a catalogue of currently available hESC lines.
Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative (HipSci)
The Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative (HipSci) generated a large, high-quality reference panel of genotypically and phenotypically characterised human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). HipSci cell lines are available through the European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC)
MRC has issued guiding principles on expectations regarding requests for support for establishing new iPSC resources.
International Stem Cell Banking Initiative
The International Stem Cell Banking Initiative (ISCBI) provides information for scientists interested in developing or using a stem cell bank. The initiative’s aim is to create a global network of stem cell banks through support for existing banks, and by encouraging the development of new banks.
The ISCBI encourages good practice in stem cell banking – scientifically and ethically – and provides information on resources and meetings for those involved in stem cell banking.
MRC-Wellcome Trust human developmental biology resource
The MRC-Wellcome Trust human developmental biology resource is a collection of human embryonic and foetal material available for the international scientific community to research.
NHS Blood and Transplant
The NHS Blood and Transplant special health authority includes:
- the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR)
- the NHS Cord Blood Bank to collect, process, store and supply umbilical cord blood
- specialist services providing haematopoietic stem cells (stem cells that can turn into blood cells) for the treatment of blood cancers. These specialist services also provide a national network of goods manufacturing practice facilities with regulatory expertise and small-scale manufacturing capabilities.
Innovate UK Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult
The Innovate UK funded Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult is an independent centre of excellence, designed to advance the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry by bridging the gap between scientific research and full-scale commercialisation. It works with partners in academia and industry to ensure that life-changing therapies can be developed for use in health services throughout the world.