Stem cell pioneer demands funding billions

The UK lead in stem cell research is being wiped out by a US investment blitz and Britain needs to raise billions of pounds to keep pace, says Sir Chris Evans founding father of the Cambridge medical technology sector.

He delivered his call to arms in an exclusive interview given to Rob Symes at Business Weeklys recent Nerve disruptive technology conference in Cambridge.

Sir Chris said: Britain has done all the hard work to get stem cells from raw research with Reneuron, the company I started 14 years ago, into humans. Now its all about money. Big Government money must come in right now.

The US has gone from a position of stasis with the George Bush clampdown to Obama unleashing investment and now multi institutions across America are doing some fabulous work on the back of billions of dollars of funding. Britain is dealing in tens of millions against Americas billions.

We need billions in the UK and if the Government doesnt recognise it and act fast we will have to go outside the UK and bring it back into the country.

Sir Chris said the progress the UK had made in scientific terms had been impressive. Stem cells have given rise to everything underpinning the whole era of regenerative medicine.

You can forget drugs; you can get a brand new organ preferably taken from yourself and stem cell medicine gives you a cure, not a treatment. Its a bit like a vaccine delivered once it lasts for life.

They give you a new heart or lung and you look after this one. Its really exciting that we are in the clinic with stem cells. When I started Reneuron 14 years ago it was all about research, ideas and conceptualising.

We were nowhere near the human. Now we are injecting stem cells into the human brain. You pray first of all that it is safe and then that it succeeds and we achieved both in the clinic, which is fantastic.

We saw stroke patients who couldnt raise a finger, grasping an object, picking it up and moving it. We have got over so many hurdles - first the research, then regulatory, then the ethics and now its all about money.

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Stem cell pioneer demands funding billions

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