Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), the DanStem Institute at the University of Copenhagen and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne will jointly receive €300 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The aim of this new international consortium is to bring stem cell-based therapies from the laboratory to the patient.
Stem cells offer a unique opportunity to repair tissue damaged by disease or trauma. The potential use is promising for the treatment of diabetes, metabolic diseases and inherited disorders, but substantial work is still needed to bring these stem cell therapies to patients. To accelerate this, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is investing around €100 million in each institute forming the new reNEW consortium. The funding is for a period of ten years.
The new consortium focuses on three different aspects of stem cell research. One of them, called reSOLVE, is coordinated by LUMC professor Christine Mummery and focuses on the reconstruction of tissues with stem cells to study diseases and test new drugs. As an example, the LUMC tries to mimic cardiac tissue with stem cells. The second programme, reBUILD, aims to develop new clinical applications with stem cells, for example for Parkinson's disease and diabetes. This project is led from Denmark by Agnete Kirkeby. LUMC professor Niels Geijsen will coordinate the reWRITE programme, which develops genetic modification techniques to treat genetic disorders.
The LUMC has a long-standing tradition in the field of organ transplantation and the development of therapies and disease models based on stem cells, and it has a leading role in the field of regenerative medicine in the Netherlands. This is partly due to the combination of the necessary expertise and the right infrastructure. For example, a production facility, NECSTGEN, is being built at the Leiden Bioscience Park. Among other things, stem cell products can be manufactured here that may be used in patients.
"I am very enthusiastic about reNEW. In Leiden we already have a unique ecosystem with excellent science, education, proven translational potential and state-of-the-art infrastructure. With this new collaboration and financial boost, we can create the critical mass needed to bring about a major turning point in this emerging medical field," says Pancras Hogendoorn, Dean and Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board of the LUMC.
In the LUMC, reNEW is coordinated by Professor Ton Rabelink: "This donation is a fantastic boost for this relatively new field within medicine. It also directly builds on the ambition made possible by the National Science Agenda and in which we cooperate within national consortia such as Regmed XB."
Please read further in the international press release ofNovo Nordisk Fonden.