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Information for the Public/Stem cell therapy information

Stem cells are found in a number of the body’s tissues and organs, and occur from the earliest stages of development (embryonic stem cells) to adulthood (adult stem cells). What makes stem cells unique is the ability to reproduce themselves indefinitely and to generate more specialised cell types, such as muscle, nerve or bone cells.

It is not yet known which stem cell type will be the most suitable for clinical therapy. Research is therefore supported on both embryonic, adult and induced stem cells, and knowledge gained on one cell type will contribute to the understanding of the other.

Stem cell therapy falls under regenerative medicine and offers a potentially revolutionary way to repair diseased and damaged body parts with healthy new cells. If the mechanism by which stem cells differentiate can be determined and controlled, it would be possible to engineer replacement tissue that, once implanted, would help the body to heal itself.

What is the MRC funding in this area?

Promoting stem cell and regenerative medicine research is a priority for the MRC. Further information can be found both in our Research Strategy and on our Spotlight on Regenerative Medicine.

The MRC invests in several institutes, units and centres and a number of strategic investments that focus on stem cell research. Information on some of these can be found under Key investments.

Further information on current MRC funded projects can be found on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Can stem cells help my condition?

Stem cells offer hope for many debilitating conditions where research is underway including: Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cancer and eye diseases such as macular degeneration. A general overview and further information of how stem cells might be able to help with certain medical conditions is available on the above links and from EuroStemCell.

The EuroStemCell site is part of the work of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. It is an outreach project involving more than 400 stem cell and regenerative medicine labs across Europe and provides a variety of information and resources on clinical trials and stem cell treatments

We are unable to answer specific questions on whether stem cells can help with your specific condition. Your GP or consultant is best placed to provide you with further advice.