The global market in the regenerative medicine sector amounts to billions of euros and the demand is only expected to grow exponentially in coming years. However, only 15 % of innovative therapeutic products are available commercially. A whopping 75 % is still in early-to-mid–stage clinical development. TERM has the potential to restore the function of damaged cells, tissues or organs. Applications include treatment of severe injuries such as burns and spinal cord injury, as well as of chronic diseases such as heart failure, stroke, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. Thirteen European organisations initiated the EU-funded TERM project to sustainably strengthen European research collaboration in this complex interdisciplinary field. They worked on improving expertise, education, technology transfer and infrastructure to attract public and private investment that will in turn boost research and development. To begin with, TERM members carried out a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis. This helped assess research potential and capacity in Europe. Based on the results, a database of 124 organisations involved in research in regenerative medicine was generated and a joint action plan was determined. A major achievement was the establishment of an interactive multifunctional web portal. This tool identifies similar or complementary research clusters, enables project management, promotes networking and showcases potential funding resources. Matchmaking events to improve productivity and promote better collaboration and cooperation included workshops. Shared educational exchange programmes and mentoring activities were recommended to improve researchers' skills and mobility. A multiregional innovation programme and novel business models were proposed to attract investors and ensure faster commercialisation of promising technologies. TERM activities and outcomes should help rapidly bridge the innovation gap between Europe and the United States and boost European competitiveness in regenerative medicine. Development of affordable, highly individualised therapies should help sustain health care systems across Europe and promote active and healthy ageing. In the long run, diseases like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's will be history.
Regenerative medicine, health care, ageing, tissue engineering, diseases