In 2015, The University of Edinburgh secured funding to build a new Centre for Tissue Repair (CTR) building and construction began in October 2017 on the site adjacent to the CRM building.
Together the CTR and Centre for Regenerative Medicine buildings will make up the University’s new Institute for Regeneration and Repair (IRR).
The CTR building is under construction and will provide purpose built laboratory facilities to accommodate development of an interdisciplinary research environment. It will integrate chemists alongside biologists and clinical researchers to address key challenges in the translation and commercialisation of regenerative therapies. State-of-the-art research space will be provided for 250 researchers, including the Centre for Inflammation Research (CIR).
The new building was funded in part by an award from the UK Research Partnership Infrastructure Fund will be a unique interdisciplinary research facility addressing critical bottlenecks in the development and commercialisation of regenerative therapies. The focus will be on bringing together leading physical and biomedical scientists to accelerate recent important discoveries in basic stem cell science and regenerative medicine to the clinic by devising strategies to enhance and confirm tissue regeneration and repair.
The new research facility will be situated adjacent to the CRM building on the Edinburgh BioQuarter campus. The building will be ideally placed to translate basic science into clinical therapies. The co-location of key academic research facilities with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Medical School, brings together clinicians, patients, scientists and state-of-the-art pre-clinical and clinical research facilities on one site.
The aim of IRR is to understand the mechanisms controlling tissue regeneration and repair. To do this IRR will:
- Identify novel molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling tissue regeneration.
- Develop high resolution in vivo imaging technologies.
- Develop novel therapeutic approaches to promote tissue regeneration and repair.
- Train the next generation scientists and clinician scientist in tissue repair.
Research will focus on 3 principal themes, considered to be the ‘drivers’ of repair:
- Tissue stem cells and regeneration: A key step in regeneration is the generation of new cells from tissue stem cells. Studying the behaviour of these cells in normal and damaged tissue is key to understanding essential processes of repair.
- Inflammatory triggers to tissue repair: Inflammation is an essential component of tissue repair. The role of cells involved in inflammation (e.g. macrophages and neutrophils) will be studied in models of tissue repair and regeneration.
- Niche biology: Stem cell behaviour is regulated in an area of tissue known as a stem cell ‘niche’. Cues from specific niche cell types and other factors in this microenvironment maintain tissue homeostasis and initiate repair. Defining these molecular cues in tissues will lead to the development of novel strategies to improve tissue repair.
The new centre will focus on tissue repair in four main tissue types:
- Central nervous system (CNS)
- Haematopoietic system and thymus
The research carried out in the CTR will lead to the development of new therapies for tissue damage, such as the destruction of nerve cells in multiple sclerosis or damage to the liver caused by infections.
The advanced imaging and sensing technologies that we will develop will enable researchers to view and measure tissue regeneration in real time. These techniques will be critical for evaluating the effectiveness of new treatments in clinical trials.