Plans for the creation of a £18 million national network of ‘cutting-edge gene therapy innovation hubs’ has been announced by LifeArc and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
With support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), three facilities across England will support clinical development of new genetic treatments.
£18 million of funding will be used to place hubs at Kings College London, NHS Blood and Transplant in Bristol, and the University of Sheffield. It’s hoped they will ‘transform care for millions of patients’, including people with rare and life-threatening genetic diseases.
At the three sites, academic-led clinical trials of novel gene therapies will take place. And the development aims to ‘unlock development pathways’ for new treatments by ensuring access to clinical trial materials, translational support and regulatory advice.
Dr Melanie Lee, CEO of LifeArc, said of the news: “Recent innovations in gene therapies hold enormous potential for treating conditions such as rare diseases, but often promising ideas – particularly in academia – are not making it through to patients. Through our collaboration, we aim to meet the need for researchers to have access to the essential facilities and translational advice to progress promising research.”
As the network will be coordinated, the three facilities will also share technical skills and resources, with operations overseen by a cross-network coordination committee.
Find out more about the hubs at ukri.org.