Tissue engineering and stem cell therapies

Image showing stem cells labelled with a red fluorescent marker migrating between 2 pieces of cartilage.  This technique can be used to drive integration of tissues.
Stem cells labelled with a red fluorescent marker migrating between 2 pieces of cartilage. This technique can be used to drive integration of tissues.
Seeding cells onto an airway scaffold for tissue engineering of tracheal cartilage.  Tissue engineering can be used to replace failing organs and tissues.
Seeding cells onto an airway scaffold for tissue engineering of tracheal cartilage. Tissue engineering can be used to replace failing organs and tissues.

Mission statement

Our work is focused on turning stem cell biology into stem cell medicine. We will investigate the fundamental biology of stem cells so as to increase our understanding of how they function. This knowledge will allow us to harness their potential as cell therapies and as tissue engineering solutions within the field of regenerative medicine. This is an exciting new branch of medicine that will offer solutions to the treatment of those chronic and life-threatening diseases that have remained untouched by pharmaceuticals. There are several types of stem cell and these can be divided into those derived from embryos (embryonic stem cells), those derived from adult tissue (adult stem cells) and those derived from the reprogramming of adult cells so that they behave as if they were embryonic stem cells (induced pluripotent stem cells).  We will investigate the potential of using each of these types of cell in the treatment of chronic diseases. More details about them can be found within our research group pages by following the links below.

Adult stem cells derived from the bone marrow of patients are being investigated for their capacity to regenerate cartilage for the treatment of osteoarthritis and airways disease and vascular smooth muscle for the treatment of congenital heart diseases (see Adult stem cells group research page).  Methods of deriving chondrocytes (cartilage cells) from embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells are being studied as a means of providing large numbers of cells for the treatment of many patients from one cell source (see Embryonic stem cells group research page).  The haemopoietic stem cell (HSC) is the critical component for the development of all blood cells.  Pathological changes in haemopoietic stem cells can lead to blood cancers and other blood disorders, which can threaten survival.  The resistance of some types of bone marrow stem cells to chemotherapy drugs is being explored as a route towards improved treatments for leukaemia (see Cancer stem cells group research page).

The Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell Therapy researchers in CMM collaborate with other stem cell scientists as well as clinical scientists across Bristol and also with experts in the field around the world, creating a critical mass of research in regenerative medicine.