MHRA to trial stem cell robot for cell therapies

The Medicines and Healtcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)’s UK Stem Cell Bank is trialing an innovative new robot that grows stem cells.  The MHRA’s UK Stem Cell Bank is testing the stem cell propagation robot over a 12-month period to see whether the cells produced by the fully automated Intelligent Cell Processing System meet the standards needed for them to be used in the manufacture of potentially life-saving treatments.  “The UK is only the second country where this technology has been tested,” Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay commented.

Marc Bailey, MHRA Chief Scientific Officer, stated that cell-based therapeutics “have the potential to treat, and even cure, a vast number of diseases but their availability has been limited because they are often very difficult to manufacture.”

Benefits of the stem cell robot

However, Bailey suggested, “the new Intelligent Cell Processing System being tested at the MHRA, could make this manufacturing process much easier and therefore transform the availability of these treatments.  It also has the potential to reduce human error in this process and produce a more consistent final product which will result in safer and more effective treatments.  By replacing cells that have been damaged or lost, [the stem cell robot] could transform the lives of tens of thousands of people with Parkinson’s and other devastating diseases.”

The trial for this technology is part of a UK-based international research program, which was launched in 2021.  It is a partnership between the MHRA, Scottish Regenerative Medicine start-up SAKARTA, and Sinfonia Technology Co. Ltd.  The initiative is supported by Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation at Kobe (FBRI).

REFERENCE:  EPR (European Pharmaceutical Review); 17 MAR 2023; Catherine Eckford