Sheffield to lead the way in rare disease treatment with state-of-the-art gene therapy centre

Construction work has started on a state-of-the-art gene therapy ‘innovation centre’ which will help Sheffield scientists discover new treatments for currently life-threatening and even incurable diseases.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 9:25 am

Building work on the University of Sheffield’s Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre (GTIMC) is now underway.

The new centre will be close to existing university research facilities at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, just off the Sheffield Parkway at Catcliffe.

Professor Mimoun Azzouz, Director of the GTIMC and Chair of Translational Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield, said: “Sheffield is internationally renowned for its world-class neurodegenerative research. This centre will help to accelerate this revolutionary research into promising and innovative treatment options for many rare diseases which currently have no cure.

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Left to right: Paul Turner, Robertson Yorkshire & East Midlands Managing Director, Prof Sue Hartley, University of Sheffield Vice-President for Research, Dan Jarvis, Mayor of South Yorkshire, and Prof Mimoun Azzouz, University of Sheffield GTIMC Hub Director.

“Sheffield has emerged as one of the leading players in cell and gene therapy and this national network of partners, facilities and training programmes will allow us to keep pace with translational discoveries for new and potentially life changing treatments.

“This is an exciting milestone for revolutionary gene therapeutic advances not only for Sheffield and South Yorkshire, but also for the UK.”

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Gene therapy is a promising treatment option for more than 7,000 rare diseases that currently have no cure. It aims to treat these conditions by engineering another gene to replace, silence or manipulate the faulty one.

The state-of-the-art centre will bring together academic institutions, NHS trusts, non-profit and industry partners across the north of England, Midlands and Wales enabling academic-led clinical trials of novel gene therapies.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of South Yorkshire, added: “This is outstanding news for South Yorkshire and the North of England. It places our region right at the heart of world-class research and innovation into gene therapy. The vital research carried out here will provide hope for thousands of people with devastating genetic diseases.

“The fact that South Yorkshire was chosen is very significant – this will build on our region’s expertise in health and well-being research. The centre will be a beacon of medical innovation, will create valuable highly-skilled jobs and boost economic growth.”

Construction on the GTIMC is due to be completed in the summer of 2022.