In the current article we summarize the 15-year experience of the Spanish Cell Therapy Network (TerCel), a successful collaborative public initiative funded by the Spanish government for the support of nationwide translational research in this important area. Thirty-two research groups organized in three programs devoted to cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and immune-inflammatory diseases, respectively, currently form the network. Each program has three working packages focused on basic science, pre-clinical studies and clinical application. TerCel has contributed during this period to boost the translational research in cell therapy in Spain, setting up a network of Good Manufacturing Practice-certified cell manufacturing facilities- and increasing the number of translational research projects, publications, patents and clinical trials of the participating groups, especially those in collaboration. TerCel pays particular attention to the public-private collaboration, which, for instance, has led to the development of the first allogeneic cell therapy product approved by the European Medicines Agency, Darvadstrocel. The current collaborative work is focused on the development of multicenter phase 2 and 3 trials that could translate these therapies to clinical practice for the benefit of patients.
Keywords: cell therapy; regenerative medicine; research network; stem cells; translational medicine.
Copyright © 2019 International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Conflict of interest statement
Declaration of Competing Interest This manuscript has been supported by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) through the project “RD16/0011/0001: Red de Terapia Celular”, from the sub-program RETICS, integrated in the “Plan Estatal de I+D+I 2013-2016” and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund “A way to make Europe”. D.G.O. has been an Advisory Board member of TiGenix SAU, and received consulting fees from Takeda. He also holds patents 10157355957US and US11/167061 related to Darvadstrocel. The remaining authors do not declare any conflict of interest regarding this article.
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