University College London
UCL is ranked 5th in the world’s top ten universities by the most recent UK Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings. UCL is at the forefront of pioneering, cross-disciplinary research and is currently investing £350 million in state-of-the-art-facilities for cutting-edge research. UCL was ranked as number 1 in the UK for research strength based on the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
The UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) Institute for Women’s Health (IWH) is a unique pairing of clinical (UCL Hospitals) and academic (UCL) strength and expertise in Women’s Health. IWH has expertise in translating novel advanced therapeutics into pregnancy. The state of the art facilities in the EGA and Obstetric Wing at UCLH deliver nearly 7000 babies per year with a high proportion of complex pregnancies resulting from tertiary referral for congenital disease and maternal and fetal complications from within the North Central London maternity network (approximately 22,000 deliveries/year).
The Academic Maternal Fetal Medicine department at IWH and the Fetal Medicine Unit and Obstetric Service, UCLH has a long history of research to develop fetal therapies, going back to the first intrauterine fetal blood transfusions performed by Professor Charles Rodeck. There is local expertise in the sonographic diagnosis of skeletal dysplasias together with availability of NIPD for selected conditions, and the Fetal Medicine Unit attracts referrals from across the south of England and beyond.
Within the Cellular Programming and Perinatal Therapy group at UCL Institute for Women’s Health, there is expertise in the analysis of outcomes after pre-clinical in utero stem cell transplantation which will be applied to study engraftment in treated children in the clinical trial.
There is also expertise at Royal Free Hospital cell manufacturing laboratories that has close links to UCL to manage the receipt and release of stem cells for clinical trial use.
Role in project:
UCL will participate in the design and conduct of the BOOSTB4 clinical trial. UCL will:
Identify pregnancies with fetuses affected by OI and recruit to the study for intervention or observation;
Perform prenatal transplantation of fetal MSCs to treat OI;
Analysis of MSC and tissue samples for engraftment in WP2.