Gene & Cell Based Therapy (Research Division)
The Division consists of the following research groups:
Clinical Sciences; Diabetes Research; Endocrine Immunology; Institute of Liver Studies (Hepatocyte Biology and Transplantation, Liver Immunopathology and Liver Molecular Genetics); Molecular Haematology and Renal Medicine. There is collaborative research between the groups resulting in highly innovative therapeutic approaches.
There are several major, interlinking threads in the division's research programme, providing excellent opportunities for cross-fertilisation of ideas and the pooling of knowledge and expertise. Clinically important immune responses are a major area of our research, encompassing the rejection of transplants, and autoimmunity of the liver, thyroid, kidney, and pancreatic islets, as well as tumour-specific immunity. Single gene disorders and genetic susceptibility to disease are being pursued in the inherited red blood cell disorders including sickle cell disease and the thalassaemias, and liver disorders, with a coalescence of interests in isolating the genetic loci modifying these disorders. Dissection and identification of some of the genetic modifiers should provide further insights into the mechanisms underlying these complex disorders, increasing the chances of finding new, improved biomarkers and gene based therapeutic strategies. Gene therapy is being pursued across all areas, including the use of genetic manipulation to generate beta cells from autologous tissues for the treatment of diabetes. We are strategically based to take advantage of the superb opportunities at King's College Hospital for transferring research findings in the laboratory directly to the bedside. The hospital is a tertiary referral centre for liver disease and liver transplantation, an internationally recognised centre for diabetes and the haemoglobinopathies (sickle cell disease and thalassaemias.)