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The Precision Cellular Therapeutics Unit is one of three new units awarded to the University of Oxford by NIHR.

Blood group O Rh negative of packed red cell (PRC) bag for blood transfusion

A £20m programme co-funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and NHSBT aims to provide new technologies, techniques or insights that will benefit donation, transfusion, and transplantation.

Three units will be launched at the University of Oxford: Precision Cellular Therapeutics, Data Driven Transfusion Practice and Genomics to Enhance Microbiology Screening.

The aim of these research units is to generate new technologies and practices which can be delivered at scale by NHSBT, helping to save and improve lives. Much of this work will focus on reducing disparities and improving access to new treatments for all patients.

The Precision Cellular Therapeutics unit, led by Professor Ronjon Chakraverty at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine aims to develop new kinds of cell therapies for blood disorders and blood cancer, and improved systems for following up patients receiving treatment to better support their care.

This research programme plans to:

  • Find better ways of getting stem cell and immune cell grafts to eliminate blood cancer without causing graft-versus-host disease

  • Make immune cells that are more effective 

  • Use novel methods to expand stem cells in the lab so we can treat more patients with cord blood

  • Safely modify stem cells so they work better and can be used to make other blood cells

  • Better ensure all patients in all communities are getting the same access to transplants and new cell therapies

  • Use new mobile technologies for patients so that they and their doctors can monitor symptoms and side effects of cell therapy, and better support their care out-of-hospital.

Professor Ronjon Chakraverty said, "Our programme seeks not only to accelerate translation of novel cellular therapies into the clinic, but also to increase their accessibility. We want to better understand the impact of these new technologies from the patient perspective."

Find out more about Precision Cellular Therapeutics.

Read the full news item on the Medical Science Division's website