Biovault Scientist Receives Prestigious Award for Umbilical Cord Blood Research

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 awarded Shaun Mansfield an Industrial Fellowship for project to improve cord stem cell yield

Shaun Mansfield, Biovault Technical Ltd and UCL Ph.D. Academic, was awarded an Industrial Fellowship by The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 for his project: Improving stem cell yield from umbilical cord blood to drastically improve blood-based cancer and novel emerging treatments. Prince Albert’s educational legacy offers support of up to £80,000 to the UK’s 14 most promising young doctoral engineers and scientists.

Improving the yield of cord blood stem cells

Shaun Mansfield’s project aims to improve the yield of stem blood cells from umbilical cord blood to improve the treatment of blood-based cancers. Cord blood stem cells are now used routinely to treat over 80 diseases of the blood and umbilical cord. The youth and vigour of cord blood stem cells make them an especially powerful and adaptable therapeutic resource. However, they are limited in number, with each cord blood sample typically containing enough stem cells to treat a young child. Transplant nurses currently use two or more samples (a double cord blood transplant) to treat older children and adults suffering from diseases such as leukaemia and sickle cell disease. Shaun’s research will enhance our understanding of cord blood stem cells and seeks to develop methods to improve yields, and patient outcomes.

Shaun said, ”I feel incredibly honoured to receive an Industrial Fellowship by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to allow me to pursue a PhD in industry. I wouldn’t have bee able to achieve this without the support of Biovault and UCL. I would like to thank everyone for their past, and no doubt future, support.”

Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said: “Ensuring Britain’s young scientists and engineers are supported is crucial to ensuring that the UK is at the forefront of innovation in the years to come. Our Industrial Fellowships are designed to fund and commercialise the most promising technologies that could shape our society in the future. This year, we have awarded more Fellowships than ever before, and the breadth of technologies we are supporting, from artificial intelligence, to clean power and potential cures for most deadly diseases demonstrates that the talent in the UK is only growing.”

The Industrial Fellowships provide graduates with the means to develop innovative technology with commercial potential, ideally leading to a patent, while completing a PhD or EngD. Each Fellow receives up to £80,000 worth of funding over three years for their work, which they will carry out in collaboration with an academic institution and a business partner. The programme plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration between universities and industry, offering much sought after funding for research and development for new intellectual property. It also enables promising scientists and engineers to conduct research whilst gaining valuable industry experience.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 was established in 1850 by Her Majesty Queen Victoria to organise the first world trade fair: The Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. Prince Albert was appointed President and took personal charge of the whole complex operation.  In just sixteen months a site was chosen in Hyde Park, the iconic Crystal Palace (the largest covered structure on earth at that time) was designed, manufactured and erected and 100,000 exhibits assembled so that the Great Exhibition opened on time on 1 May 1851.

It was an enormous success, attracting more than 6 million visitors and made a substantial profit. When the Exhibition closed in October 1851, the Royal Commission was then established as a permanent body to spend the profits in realising Prince Albert’s ambition to “increase the means of industrial education and extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry”.  To this end, the Commissioners purchased 87 acres of land in South Kensington stretching from Kensington Gore to Cromwell Road.  Here they aided the establishment of the Victoria and Albert Museum,  the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum,  the Royal Albert Hall and Imperial College as well as the Royal College of Art and the Royal College of Music.

Originally set up by Prince Albert following the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Industrial Fellowships recognise research that could best advance British industry and award funds to bring new technologies to market.

This prestigious award will not only support Shaun in his research of umbilical cord stem cells and their ability to treat blood cancers but will enable him to develop his academic work into a product that will positively impact society.

Find out more about the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 here.

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Jo Kingston

BSc (Hons) Chemistry

Sales Manager | Biovault Family

Jo joined Biovault Family in 2019 as the Sales Manager. With her Science degree & her passion for the healthcare industry and background in the Pharmaceutical & Biotech industry, Biovault Family was the perfect fit. Jo is enthusiastic about Umbilical Cord Banking and her goal is educating all expecting couples in the UK about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to store their baby’s cord blood & cord tissue.

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