Biomodifying Technologies and Experimental Space

Organisational and Regulatory Implications for the Translation and Valuation of Health Research

Developments in medical innovation today can be seen in areas such as robotics, digital systems or new imaging techniques – and increasingly in areas marked by highly sophisticated forms of biology and biotechnology that involve altering natural biological processes. Three key developments form the focus for this project: the arrival of ‘gene-editing’ whose goal is to understand and remove disease-related mutations, the creation of induced pluripotent stem cells that can be controlled to create different types of tissue for cell therapy, and the emergence of 3D printing of biological material which aims to create novel structures for bodily repair and renewal.

These developments can all be described as ‘biomodifying technologies’, they modify living biological tissue in novel and increasingly patient-orientated and customised ways. These technologies are not simply important in a medical sense, but also because of the ways in which they are reshaping the landscape of innovation in the 21st century. Each of these technologies challenges existing translational pathways in a number of ways that warrant further examination. Each is available as a research tool in standardised packages that are comparatively easy to apply, making for a widely distributed ‘experimental space’ in which applications are being explored and developed. The concept of ‘experimental space’ here describes the prospects for these technologies while they remain under development and before they are ready for clinical application. While previous work has examined in detail how new bio-medical technologies and services are adopted (or alternatively how they may run into trouble) as they move into the clinic, the pre-clinical experimental space in which these novel technologies are developing is relatively under-researched and represents a gap in the current understanding of innovation and translation trajectories.

Further details can be found on the project's active website at biomodtech.com

Related research completed during the REGenableMed project is reported here too. This is in regard to the results from that project that led to the model of ''Institutional Readiness and the Adoption of Emergent Technologies.
 
The attached summary shows how this work is being picked up in the NHS'. [Adoption of Emergent Technologies (PDF , 399kb)]
 
In addition, an international project out of Montreal, called Fieri, led by Pascale Lehoux, 'Responsible Health Innovation', and in which Andrew Webster has a role as a member of the project team, is examining how innovation in biomedicine can be fostered and adopted in a 'responsible' way. The website for what is a hugely productive project is at http://infieri.umontreal.ca/#section-accueil

Related links

Project details

  • Project short title
    Biomodifying Technologies
  • Project sponsor
    Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Project duration
    36 months
  • Start date
    3 April 2017

People

Related links

Project details

  • Project short title
    Biomodifying Technologies
  • Project sponsor
    Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Project duration
    36 months
  • Start date
    3 April 2017

People