Zahid Latif, Lead Technologist - Bioscience, Medicines and Healthcare, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) looks at the areas of innovation the TSB has pinpointed for targeted R&D support in Life Sciences in the UK
The UK is leading the way in regenerative medicine
The creation of the Office for Life Sciences signalled the importance of life sciences to the UK, and the recognition that more needed to be done to support a thriving UK environment.
The UK life sciences industry is an established world leader and employs over 120,000 people. The UK?s world-leading position in life sciences is built on considerable strengths:
In the coming decades, an ageing population coupled with greater public expectations of fast, effective treatment will pose a significant challenge to healthcare systems and drive growth in healthcare products and services, with global growth forecast at 7-12% annually.
The Technology Strategy Board has pinpointed several particular areas of innovation for targeted R&D support in Life Sciences in the UK:
The TSB?s Assisted Living Innovation Platform aims to enable the ageing population and those with long-term health conditions to live with greater independence
By replacing or regenerating human cells, tissue or organs they can work normally ? in this way regenerative medicine has the potential to cure chronic conditions, transforming people?s health and wellbeing.
Ranking in the top three countries worldwide, the UK is at the cutting edge of this technology area. For example, the first-ever clinical trial using brain stem cells to treat stroke is about to begin in Glasgow. Significant UK growth in this Life Sciences area is projected in the next decade with sales of £5bn and 15,000 jobs in research and high-value manufacturing.
The Technology Strategy Board-led RegenMed Programme, supported by £21.5m investment, will give companies access to finance, capability and the ability to provide evidence of clinical effectiveness for the therapy.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded innovative manufacturing research centre in regenerative medicine is supporting the development of the industrial infrastructure needed to manufacture regenerative medicine therapies, building unique UK capabilities that will attract overseas investors.
In the UK, approximately 10% of all deaths and 4% of all hospital admissions are attributed to infectious diseases. The estimated annual cost of treating infectious disease in England is £6bn. More rapid and accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases is at the forefront of tackling these diseases. The devices should be fast, sensitive and specific, cheap, easy to use, minimally invasive, compact, stable and compatible with existing systems.
To help meet these challenges, the Technology Strategy Board and the Department of Health have launched an £11m Innovation Platform to support the development and uptake of diagnostic devices that are clinically useful and commercially viable.
The Technology Strategy Board?s Assisted Living Innovation Platform is delivering a wide-ranging programme to enable the ageing population and those with long-term health conditions to live with greater independence.
People are living longer and this is a cause for celebration, but therefore the number who will have long-term conditions ? and as they grow old become frail ? is set to increase. At the same time, the number of economically active people who can finance health and social care is falling. Today?s care models are unsustainable, and this is a major concern for the social care and health services in the UK.
The Technology Strategy Board is working with the Department of Health, primary care trusts, research councils, local authorities, academia, industry and third-sector organisations to develop technologies and services in Life Sciences that will enable individuals to receive support at home. The scope for business innovation in meeting the healthcare and life sciences challenges of the future is immense. Through effective partnerships between government, business and researchers we can use these challenges to inspire new solutions and create new products and markets, maintaining and enhancing the UK?s world-leading position in the life sciences sector.
For more information on innovation in the life sciences, including the Biosciences Technology Strategy 2009-2012, visit: Website: www.innovateuk.org.
Added the 26 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1