stemcells-home

Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine and Cancer

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is disease associated with ageing. Cancer, neurodegeneration and heart disease are all major causes of death and have an enormous impact on quality of life.

Over recent years, a revolution in biology has meant that effective regenerative medicine, using stem cells to replace and repair damaged tissue is now on the horizon. Naturally occurring ‘immortal’ stem cells are present in all tissues of the body and act to replace loss of cells in tissues with rapid turnover, for example in the skin, blood or intestine, or to repair damage as in wound healing.

Harnessing the power of stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue in a range of diseases, or to generate tissue for organ repair following radical surgery, is a key goal. Yet how we can effectively manipulate stem cells for therapeutic use, and how we ensure their survival, for example after transplantation, remain major challenges.

The identification of physiological stem cells that regenerate tissues led to the discovery of stem-like cells in cancer. Cancer stem cells are resistant to therapy and provide a reservoir of cells able to regenerate tumours with their associated genetic heterogeneity, even many years after apparently successful therapy. Understanding the origins of cancer stem cells, how they are activated, and how they can be eradicated are key goals that must be met if we are to develop effective anti-cancer therapies.

The Oxford Stem Cell and Cancer Institute (OSCI) was established in 2008 with funding from the Oxford Martin School. The OSCI comprises over core and affiliated 40 laboratories across Oxford and recognizes that the development of more effective stem cell and anti-cancer therapies would benefit from cross-disciplinary research that breaks the traditional taxonomic barriers boundaries between cancer, development and regenerative medicine.

Events

Oxford Transcription and Chromatin Meeting - June 15-16th

Oxford Martin School

A unique meeting bringing together 36 groups from across Oxford working on all aspects of gene regulation including transcription factors, transcritpion initiation, elongation and termination, chromatin and imaging.

Keynote speaker: Prof. Ron Hay, Dundee

Oxford Cancer Centre Symposium - June 5th 2015

Mathematical Institute

Showcasing the depth and breadth of cancer research across Oxford and especially scientific clinical collaborations

Keynote speaker: Prof. Sir David Lane

Stem Cells: A pathway through the maze - Date TBA

Department for Continuing Education

This course is intended to dispel the myths behind stem cell biology and introduce delegates to the science behind the headlines, the pitfalls as well as the promises.

Bringing together eighteen leading experts in the field to explore this cutting-edge technology, this course is designed for those who have little prior knowledge or understanding of stem cells, so as to provide as broad an overview of the subject as possible.

This will include not only the science underlying the subject, but also related issues such as the ethics and regulatory infrastructure and commercialisation of regenerative medicine.