NUI Galway, Hebei Medical University establishstem cell research centre

Curam award
Zhidong Zhao, Hebei provincial department of human resources and social security, and Prof Timothy O’Brien, NUI Galway

Collaboration to tackle metabilic diseases, musculoskeletal disorders

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7 January 2019 | 0

NUI Galway and Hebei Medical University have established a joint stem cell research centre in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China. The goal is to collaborate and to develop translational research programmes using stem cells to treat cardio-renal-metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus, musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis and neurological disorders.

The Centre is co-directed by Prof Huixan Cui, President of Hebei Medical University and Prof Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences and Remedi and Curam investigator at NUI Galway and consultant endocrinologist at Saolta University Healthcare Group.

“We need to undertake rigorously conducted clinical trials with carefully manufactured stem cells to ensure these therapies are safe and effective,” said Prof O’Brien. “We have invested significant resources in Galway to this end with the construction of a ‘good manufacturing practice’ facility for stem cell manufacture and a HRB clinical research facility, which has special expertise in conducting early stage clinical trials in stem cell therapy. We also greatly appreciate the help of the Galway Blood and Tissue Establishment at Galway University Hospital under whose licence all tissue is procured for stem cell isolation.

“These international exchanges are a vital part of our undergraduate medical curriculum and part of our effort to ensure our medical graduates have a concept of global citizenship.”

The programme is facilitated by Prof Sanbing Shen, Professor of Fundamental Stem Cell Biology at NUI Galway, who has trained scientists from Hebei in his NUI Galway laboratory who are now faculty members in higher education institutions in Hebei.

Professors O’Brien and Shen have been approved by Chinese authorities to supervise PhD students in China and recruitment for this purpose is currently underway.

Five NUI Galway faculty presented at the recent international conference along with partner principal investigators from Hebei Medical University. The scientific advisory board whose members come from the USA, EU and China reviewed the scientific plans and endorsed the programme.

Curam is a Science Foundation Ireland research centre.

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