Regenerative medicine |
Chapter 1: Introduction
Purpose of the inquiry
1. Regenerative medicine is an umbrella term
for the medical specialty of the regeneration of human tissue,
organs and cells. It
has potential to treat or cure disease. Possible treatments range
from a cure for diabetes to new approaches for drug screening,
from curing neurological disorders to, eventually, repairing hearts.
This inquiry sought to pinpoint the UK's strengths in regenerative
medicine, identify barriers to translation (applying findings
from basic research in a clinical setting) and commercialisation
(in this case, primarily delivering treatments in the healthcare
market), and recommend solutions. The UK has an enviable potential
resource in the National Health Service (NHS)access to
hundreds of thousands of patients in one systemand a strong
science base in this field. The Government have also been paying
significant attention to developing the field. Together, these
factors could combine to benefit patient wellbeing and the health
of the UK economy.
2. Basic science, translation and commercialisation
in this field are being well supported in some other countries.
However, there is growing concern that despite positive progress
so far the UK could fall behind in this area and miss out on opportunities
to translate basic science to commercially viable treatments as
the science develops. This opportunity must not be missedthe
UK could and should be a world leader in this field.
3. Much has been written about regenerative medicine
and its composite elements in recent years. We have focussed our
inquiry on the translation and commercialisation of research.
Given the work of previous committees of this House considering
the ethics of the use of stem cells
and the work of other organisations on this area (such as the
Nuffield Council on Bioethics),
we excluded ethical considerations from our terms of reference.
4. We issued a call for evidence (set out in
Appendix 3) in August 2012 and received 76 submissions. In October
2012, we held a seminar on regenerative medicine at King's College
London, a note of which is set out in Appendix 4. In December
2012, we visited the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
(CIRM). A note of this visit is set out in Appendix 5. We held
17 evidence sessions in the House of Lords from October 2012 to
Structure of the report
5. In the next chapter, we set out some definitions
and examples of regenerative medicine. In Chapter 3, we consider
the landscape of regenerative medicine in the UK. Chapter 4 discusses
barriers to the translation of regenerative research and recommends
strategies to address them. Chapter 5 looks at commercial issues.
Chapter 6 summarises our key conclusions and recommendations.
6. The membership and interests of the Committee
are set out in Appendix 1, and those who submitted evidence are
listed in Appendix 2. We are grateful to all those who assisted
us in our work.
- We are also grateful to our specialist adviser,
Professor Fiona Watt FRS, Director of the Centre for Stem
Cells and Regenerative Medicine, King's College London, for her
expertise and guidance during this inquiry. We stress, however,
that the conclusions which we draw and the recommendations that
we make are ours alone.
1 Mason, C., Dunnill, P. 'A brief definition of regenerative
medicine', Regenerative Medicine, January 2008. Back
Stem Cell Research Committee, Stem Cell Research (Report,
Session 2001-02, HL Paper 83), and Joint Committee on the Human
Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill, Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft)
Bill (Report, Session 2006-07, HL Paper 169). Back
Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Emerging biotechnologies: technology,
choice and the public good, 2012. Back