LUMC takes lead in construction of stem cell facility

19 November 2018• NEWSITEM

Over the next few years, Leiden BioScience Park will become the site of a brand-new high-tech stem cell facility: the Netherlands Centre for the Clinical Advancement of Stem Cell Therapies (NECST). The facility will welcome researchers and start-up firms that are working to develop stem cell and gene therapy products.

Researchers who work in the relatively new field of regenerative medicine often encounter obstacles when they attempt to take their discovery from the lab to the clinic. Because the products, for example stem cells or virus vectors, are technologically complicated, their production and administration to patients are subject to stringent rules. In the early stages of clinical trials, universities and researchers often do not have access to facilities and expertise that meet the relevant GMP requirements, making it difficult to develop therapies for patients.

That is where NECST can help. The facility will welcome both academic researchers and start-up firms in the Netherlands and beyond that want to develop stem cell and gene therapies or other next-generation regenerative medical treatments. By working with LUMC and, for example, the Center for Human Drug Research, the facility can help shorten the time needed to take new developments in regenerative medicine from the lab to the patient.

International cooperation 

NECST is being set up by the Leiden Regenerative Medicine Platform (LRMP) and will complement LUMC’s close collaboration with Canada’s Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), which is building a similar facility. In addition, NECST will reinforce the infrastructure of RegMed XB (Regenerative Medicine Crossing Borders), a strategic public-private partnership involving Dutch and Flemish parties. NECST will be located in Leiden BioScience Park, enhancing the ecosystem of the Netherlands’ biggest life science cluster.

LUMC is currently engaged in talks about the construction of NECST with Leiden University, the Province of Zuid-Holland, the City of Leiden, and various government ministries and health fundraising organisations.

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