CRM runs a 4th year undergraduate special elective on stem cells and regenerative medicine. The course director is Dr Paul Travers.
Regenerative Medicine seeks to harness both the intrinsic developmental programs by which the tissues and organs of the body are laid down, as well as the capacity of the body to repair and regenerate it’s own tissues, to provide solutions to the problems of degenerative diseases. These solutions may concern direct tissue replacement, indirect mechanisms to ameliorate disease or enhance intrinsic tissue repair, or the development of pharmaceutical therapies.
The course will introduce the concepts of regenerative medicine, the nature of stem cells of different types, their current use in medicine and the prospects for their future use in medicine, veterinary medicine and the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. It will cover the production of lines of multipotent and pluripotent stem cells, the conditions necessary to induce their differentiation into specific lineages and cell types, and the applications of these clinically and commercially.
In terms of the clinical applications, aspects of inherited or acquired diseases will be covered, that are, or in the future could be, treated by stem cell therapies. For commercial applications, the use of stem cell derived artificial organs in screening other therapeutics will be addressed.
At the end of the course the students will understand:
- The basic concepts of regenerative medicine and the contribution stem cells make to normal homeostasis;
- The nature of stem cells and the concept of potency;
- The definition and derivation of embryonic stem cells, and the regulatory and ethical issues that concern the derivation of such cells;
- The derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells, the potential uses and problems associated with their use;
- The mechanisms of liver homeostasis and the derivation of hepatocytes from stem cells;
- The development of neurons from progenitors and the application of stem cells to degenerative neural diseases;
- The development of the haematopoietic system from multipotent progenitors and the clinical use of stem cells in haematopoietic stem cell transplants;
- The ethical and regulatory framework surrounding the derivation and use of stem cells for clinical and pharmaceutical purposes.
Students will also have achieved:
- Attainment of advanced skills in reading and understanding the primary literature;
- Development of scientific problem solving skills;
- Development of oral presentation skills.
More information on entry requirements and how to apply for this degree can be found on the University's website.