Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council have announced a £12.75 million
investment to create a database of iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells).
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative (HIPSCI) aims to use the iPS cell
database to study the effects of genetic variation on human health and disease
and facilitate the translation of genetic research into clinical applications.
The initiative will also provide the foundation for the creation of an iPS cell
The HIPSCI project will be led by King's College London and the Wellcome Trust
Sanger Institute, and will involve collaborations with a number of research
institutions, including the University of Cambridge, the University of Dundee
and University College London (UCL).
The initiative will generate iPS cells from 1,000 healthy volunteers and people
with genetic diseases. Researchers will investigate the effect of genetic
variation on the behaviour of the cells - how they transform into specialised
cell types and behave in response to external stimuli. Collaboration with NHS
investigators will link clinical information to these genetic studies.
Professor Fiona Watt, Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative
Medicine at King's College London, said: 'The Human Induced Pluripotent Stem
Cell Initiative brings together world-leading expertise in clinical genetics,
stem cell biology and genomic technologies. We believe that this research will
drive forward the translation of basic research into improved diagnosis and
treatment of disease'.
Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: 'The field of [iPS] cell research was made possible thanks to the seminal
discoveries of Sir John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, who were last month awarded
the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology for their work.
a field in which the UK remains at the cutting edge. Our investment in this new
initiative should further strengthen the UK's position and lead to patient
Professor Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the MRC, said: 'By investing in a
UK-wide initiative in iPS cell technology, we hope to propel UK researchers to
the forefront of this rapidly evolving field and provide an invaluable stock of
high-quality cell lines for use by academia and industry alike'.