Theme 5: Tissue Engineering for Regenerative Medicine

A special Regenerative Medicine project

The demand for effective skeletal repair will continue to grow steadily as world populations age. Accordingly, in late 2012 New Zealand’s University of Auckland initiated what became a four-country four-year project bringing together experts from a range of disciplines to establish a platform for enhancing skeletal regeneration research. Sponsored by the EU8 under its International Research Staff Exchange Scheme [IRSES], the project, code-named ‘skelGEN’, will generate new knowledge contributing to a shift from clinical management to effective skeletal repair using osteochondral [bone/cartilage] and ligament/bone or tendon/bone constructs.

Go-to persons for skelGEN

Prof Jillian Cornish, University of Auckland

Prof Xuebin Yang, University of Leeds

The ‘team’, led by University of Leeds, comprises academics/researchers in universities in the EU [four universities in the UK, two in Portugal and one in The Netherlands] and New Zealand [two universities]. The endeavour is strongly multidisciplinary, embracing fields as diverse as biology, chemistry, engineering, biomanufacturing, biomaterials, mathematics and orthopaedic research.

The programme is made up of four distinct but interrelated work packages:

  • Stem cells: Basic translational stem cell biology – from lab bench to clinic.
  • Scaffolds: Making tissue-specific scaffolds translational.
  • Computational modelling: Predictive modelling to build an understanding of the mechanisms of cell, scaffold and tissue regeneration interactions.
  • Evaluation: Standardising evaluation within regenerative medicine – basic through to translational [in vitro and in vivo; inclusive of clinical].

Some carefully selected companies are now involved. It is expected they will provide expertise in moving eventual skelGEN products towards commercialisation. Click below to view slide presentations made by three of these companies, and by the author, at a team meeting in Portugal in 2015:

8 With financial contribution from Royal Society of New Zealand [RSNZ]