A new centre is to be set up in Newcastle, which will explore therapies aimed at helping those with currently incurable diseases.

The Northern Alliance Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre will conduct research into cutting-edge gene, cell and tissue-engineered therapies. The centre, which will be run jointly by Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, could revolutionise how incurable conditions are managed.

It is hoped that advanced therapies developed at the centre will help to mitigate, and in some cases even cure, the degenerative diseases and cancers that are becoming increasingly common in the UK’s rapidly aging population.

The centre will draw on expertise from universities, hospitals and advanced therapy companies from across the north of England and Scotland. Its work will focus on the manufacture, supply, evaluation and funding of a new generation of innovative medicines.

It is estimated that the value of this medical sector could top £10 billion in the UK by 2035 and lead to the creation of 18,000 jobs, including many in the north east.

The establishment of Newcastle’s Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre has been made possible by a £7-million, three-year grant from Innovate UK, with a further £2 million in contributions expected to come from commercial partners. 

James Shaw, a professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University, said, “This is a great opportunity for Newcastle to lead the way in ensuring that the UK becomes the international first choice for advanced therapy trials and the most efficient in converting these into routine therapies transforming the lives of those living with chronic disease.”

Neil Watson, director of pharmacy at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We are delighted to be able to lead this new centre tasked with ensuring appropriate access to these innovative medicines.”

It is hoped that the work conducted on advanced therapies in Newcastle could lead to innovations being rolled out across the UK and even globally.

(Featured image courtesy of Anne Worner, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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