Mercia Stem Cell Alliance (MSCA)
Harnessing the expertise of our members to develop and promote stem cell research in the UK.
The Mercia Stem Cell Alliance (MSCA) is made up of members of the stem cell research communities across the Midlands and North West.
This partnership brings together scientists, clinicians and regional industrial collaborators who recognise the economic and social potential of stem cell research, stem cell-derived therapies and models, as well as regenerative medicine. We are committed to advancing this field.
Our collaborators are notable regional centres of excellence supporting the translation of innovative basic stem cell research for disease modelling, drug development and effective therapies.
By harnessing the expertise of our members, we aim to facilitate the essential development and promotion of stem cell research in the region and beyond.
Although stem cell science is still a rapidly-evolving discipline, it is anticipated that in the longer term, early collaborations with industry will help to ensure that the translational potential of our scientific outputs can be fully exploited.
Our partnerships with industry and the NHS will help to accelerate ventures in our target areas, ensuring that prospective clinical therapies are brought to market in a safe, cost-effective and timely manner.
The objectives of the Mercia Stem Cell Alliance include:
- raising the profile of stem cell research across the UK;
- maximising collaboration between stem cell researchers across the region;
- promoting the excellent stem cell science of our institutions;
- facilitating interaction and integrating activities between industry and academia;
- identifying funding streams for cross-institutional, multidisciplinary research projects
- creating opportunities for young investigators to progress in their careers;
- providing opportunities for individual development through training placements between member universities;
- sharing of teaching resources to enhance stem cell-related degree courses in member universities.
The Alliance is a collaboration of the following regional centres of excellence.
- Aston University
- University of Birmingham
- University of Chester
- Keele University
- University of Lancaster
- University of Leicester
- University of Liverpool Stem Cell Consortium
- Liverpool John Moores University
- Loughborough University
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- The University of Manchester
- University of Nottingham
- University of Oxford
- The University of Sheffield
- University of York
We collaborate with a number of industry partners in the region who specialise in biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals.
Epistem is a biotechnology company applying its expertise in epithelial stem cells in the areas of oncology and gastrointestinal diseases as well as dermatological applications.
They have become recognised as specialists in epithelial tissue and stem cell analyses and their heritage is based on expert science and know-how in the field of epithelial tissue and adult epithelial stem cell biology.
Gentronix provides services and solutions that help companies optimise the development of drugs and other chemicals, by reducing rates of attrition due to toxicity and ensuring safer products across a wide range of chemistry driven industries.
Their primary focus is on providing better hazard identification assays for genotoxicity through the use of human cell GADD45a reporter assays.
Mica Biosystems is enabling a new approach to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, drug discovery and therapy by exploiting a novel, patented technology for stem cell targeting and controlling cell behaviour.
Nanoco Technologies partners major research and development and blue-chip industrial organisations in the development of applications incorporating semiconductor nanoparticles called quantum dots.
The bulk manufacture of quantum dots provides their partners with the platform to develop a wide variety of next-generation products, particularly in the fields of electronics, lighting, biomedical and PV solar cells.
nanoTherics was established with technologies and products resulting from leading-edge research into use of magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications.
nanoTherics now provides a range of magnetic nanoparticle-based products designed to offer faster, more efficient, scalable tools to improve research into genetic disease disorders with potential of taking these from research laboratories to the clinic.
Neuregenix Ltd develops products and services for regenerative neurobiology with a specialist interest in the area of acute brain and spinal cord injury and the development of novel therapies to enhance post-injury functional repair.
The company owns patented technology for siRNA-based drugs to enhance neuron survival and nerve regeneration and offers a consultancy service to the field of regenerative neurobiology, and a preclinical discovery, screening, and investigative service for neural repair drugs.
NHS Blood and Transplant
NHS Blood and Transplant manages the national voluntary donation system for blood, tissues, organs and stem cells, turning donations into products that can be used safely to the benefit of the patient.
They supply around 2 million units of blood a year to hospitals in England and north Wales and last year received 3,500 organ and 4,000 tissue donations and banked 2,200 cord blood units from across the UK.
The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry has a worldwide reputation for excellence in orthopaedic research. It is currently the only hospital in the UK to offer a type of cartilage cell transplantation procedure called Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, using patients’ cells grown on-site.
Cartilage cell transplantation involves the removing of healthy cartilage cells from the patient’s knee and growing them in culture, where they multiply. The patient then has an operation to remove the damaged part of the cartilage and the cells are implanted in its place.
The hospital has been working in partnership with Keele University and the Oswestry-based Orthopaedic Institute to set up the Oscell Cell Manufacturing Facility to produce the chondrocytes for this procedure.
Our young investigators community of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers shares research expertise, advice and materials.
Our aims are to:
- connect young researchers in the region;
- foster academic and industrial partnerships;
- provide skills and training workshops;
- create an online community for sharing ideas and research tools;
- advertise and create networking opportunities for young researchers at conferences and meetings.
Our centres of excellence and industrial partners host a number of pioneering facilities.
- the Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network;
- the Biodiscovery Institute and the Nottingham Stem Cell Research Network;
- NHS Blood and Transplant Tissue Services;
- clean room facilities at the Guy Hilton Research Centre;
- the Advantage West Midlands Regional Development Agency funded Biorepository;
- the National Blood Transfusion Service Stem Cell Immunotherapy Unit;
- the Advanced Cell Therapy Facility.
Our strengths in stem cell science are complemented by spin-out companies including Epistem, Oscell and Neuregenix created through academic and industrial partnerships.
Eden Biodesign, an integrated biopharmaceutical development organisation, provides strategic consultancy, process and analytical development, and clinical trial cGMP manufacturing.
Get in touch if you’d like more information.