The field of stem cell biology has made major and continuing progress over the last few years towards achieving its much heralded aim of impacting human health. A full realisation of the medical potential of stem cells for human health will likely depend on a reinforcement of, and development of a whole continuum of studies ranging from those in vivo using model organisms, to cell-based therapies in the clinic. It is in this overall context that we have established a strategic initiative for the next decade which addresses the major obstacles in the field of stem cell research to knowledge advancement. Fundamental and applied stem cell researchers are united with selected Partners from the biotechnology sector within a Consortium called Revive to consolidate and facilitate research on stem cells in the context of fundamental biology, disease, regenerative medicine and ageing.
This consortium is structured around a dedicated research programme on stem cells, disease, regenerative medicine and ageing. It is composed of 6 academic Partners from the scientific (Institut Pasteur, INSERM, CNRS, INRA, UPMC-Paris VI, ENVA) and medical (Necker, Européen G. Pompidou and Pitié-Salpétrière Hospitals) sectors with tight links to the biotechnology industry. The Revive Consortium acts to create an internal dynamic, whilst also creating informal or where appropriate formal links with other European and international Stem Cell Consortia.
One central issue in regenerative medicine concerns the proper identification and isolation of stem cells. Critical issues include: (i) heterogeneity in stem cell populations (ii) regulation of cell fate choices; (iii) declining tissue performance with age and exposure to environmental injuries; (iv) the use of iPS and Embryonic Stem (ES) cells, and reprogramming methods for phenotyping disease states and potential use of these stem cells in the clinic.
A Board of Directors with and advisory and/or supervisory boards including a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) define the operational structure of Revive. SAB members include: Roger Patient (Oxford University, UK), Yann Barrandon (EPFL, Lausanne, CH), Michele de Luca (Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Modena, Italy) and Austin Smith (Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, UK)
Training and Recruitment
Two young investigator and two senior scientist recruitments well be made where candidates will be part of the Department of Developmental Biology at Institut Pasteur. In addition, a recruitment programme for Post-docs
has been established. As part of a training programme for young scientists, and given the vast scope that stem cell biology encompasses, a course will be organised at Institut Pasteur on "Advances in Stem Cell Research".
Socio-economic Impact and Structuring of the Stem Cell sector in France
In the longer term, Revive aims to nucleate an even larger scale effort that will bring together an expanding number leading scientists, clinicians and biotechnology companies into a national Consortium for stem cell-based regenerative medicine and drug screening. This strategy will underpin and federate short and long-term efforts to ensure the place of France as a leader in the application of stem cells in the clinic and as a major commercial provider of stem cell related products.