Some of the most significant contributions to the life sciences in Scotland have been in the field of embryology and developmental
biology, including the cloning of the first mammal, Dolly the sheep, ten years ago at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. This
research has provided a platform for pioneering developments in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine research. Scotland
is home to some of the most advanced basic research and clinical facilities in the world and consistently attracts leading
experts to the country to take advantage of its immense resources.
Scotland's success and international acclaim for its stem cell research can be attributed to several factors, including a
skilled workforce, government support, and a top academic community. More medical research is conducted per capita in Scotland
than anywhere else in Europe, and Edinburgh is at the forefront of stem cell research. The city is home to the University's
Institute for Stem Cell Research (ISCR,
http://www.iscr.ed.ac.uk/), a designated MRC, a designated Medical Research Council center of excellence. Edinburgh also has one of the largest concentrations
of clinical scientists and researchers, whose stem cell research activities in Edinburgh are supported by major infrastructure
Most recently, the Center for Regenerative Medicine was established at the new $1-billion Center for Biomedical Research (
http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/biomedicalcentre) in Edinburgh, encompassing a state-of the-art teaching hospital, the University of Edinburgh's world-renowned medical school
and research institutes, and a 100-acre science park development. Professor Ian Wilmut, creator of Dolly the sheep, has been
appointed to lead this new Regenerative Medicine Center, which will include scientists from the ISCR, the Roslin Institute,
and the University of Edinburgh Medical School. Such investments are designed to strengthen the capabilities in basic research
and its translation into clinical reality. Moreover, start-up companies are given the opportunity to build a solid foundation
among an internationally acclaimed stem cell community.
Paul De Sousa, MD, formerly of Roslin Institute, recently relocated to the University of Edinburgh, where he is focusing on
developing good manufacturing practice (GMP) procedures for human embryonic stem cell derivation. In September 2006, with
financial backing from Scottish Enterprise, Dr. De Sousa and colleagues launched Roslin Cells (
http://www.roslincells.com/), which aims to advance stem cell research in Scotland and abroad by making it more economical to purchase lines derived
using GMP procedures.
Prior to his involvement with Roslin Cells, Dr. De Sousa successfully created human embryos through virgin conception (i.e.,
parthenotes) and was granted a human-cloning license, along with Ian Wilmut, by the UK's Human Fertilization and Embryology
International companies are also expanding into Scotland to utilize the expertise offered by research institutes, universities,
and the industry as a whole. For those looking to take advantage of Scotland's major stem cell and life sciences laboratories,
access is easy, with 80% of the entire life sciences industry within a 50-mile radius of three of the country's main cities—Edinburgh,
Glasgow, and Dundee.
Scottish stem cell excellence