23 May 2023 – 00:11
More than 60 research projects were started in the first year of reNEW. The international research center reNEW is a collaboration between Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), the University of Copenhagen and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne. The aim of this international consortium is to bring stem cell-based therapies from the lab to the patient .
Stem cells offer a unique opportunity to repair tissue damaged by disease or trauma. The potential applications of these cells hold promise for the treatment of diabetes, metabolic diseases and hereditary disorders. Much research is needed to actually get these stem cell therapies to patients. To accelerate this, the Novo Nordisk Foundation has donated 300 million euros in 2022. The financing is for a period of 10 years. The aim of reNEW is to translate stem cell research into new treatments for patients. Last year, 63 research projects were started for this purpose.
The international research center reNEW celebrated its one-year anniversary in April 2023 during the second Annual Scientific Meeting in Denmark. 110 researchers, experts and support staff looked back on the past year and discussed plans for the future.
At the LUMC, reNEW is coordinated by Professor Ton Rabelink: “reNEW is a fantastic opportunity to create critical mass. Stem cell research is very expensive, but this international collaboration gives us access to the latest technologies and developments. This creates a unique opportunity to make a difference for patients.”
Within reNEW, the research partners work closely with industrial and clinical partners to ensure that the results of stem cell research actually become practically applicable in treatments for patients. They are also investigating how stem cell technology can be used for proper and efficient testing of existing medicines.
Contact with society
Stem cell technology and stem cell-based treatments are part of a new form of medicine called regenerative medicine, which raises new questions. ReNEW therefore also conducts research into legal, ethical and economic issues and invests in contact with society. In the past year, reNEW researchers were involved in 134 activities with patient organizations and policy makers, among others.
Leader in regenerative medicine
The LUMC has a long tradition in the field of organ transplantation and the development of therapies and disease models based on stem cells. It has a leading role in regenerative medicine in the Netherlands. This is partly due to the combination of the necessary expertise and the right infrastructure. For example, in 2022 the NecstGen production facility will be built at the Leiden Bio Science Park. The facility was approved by the Inspectorate at the end of last year, allowing them to produce cell products for use in patients.
Furthermore, Leiden also pays attention to the broader context in which these developments take place. Within the stimulation area of the university, for example, there are collaborations between the LUMC, the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research (LACDR) and the faculties of Humanities and Law.
Finally, the LUMC also falls within the broader, national context of RegMedXB and the National Science Agenda route Regenerative Medicine.
The involvement in all these developments and the international infrastructure means that the LUMC in the Netherlands is an important player in the discussions surrounding the development and implementation of this new type of treatment.
Read more on the reNEW website. The annual report of the first year can also be found here.