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Pioneer Test Tube Baby Professor to Open New Laboratory

We would like to announce the opening of our new state-of-the-art clean-room laboratories for clinical IVF and embryonic stem cell research by Professor Robert Edwards. The new laboratories of the Department of Reproductive Medicine and the North West Embryonic Stem Cell Centre (NWESCC) at Saint Mary’s Hospital will be officially opened on Wednesday 2nd January by Professor Robert G Edwards, the internationally renowned test tube baby pioneer. Professor Edwards is in Manchester to address a conference on ‘30 years of IVF’, organised by the Association of Clinical Embryologists to celebrate the birth of the first test tube baby Louise Brown in 1978 at Oldham General Hospital in Greater Manchester. Dr Daniel Brison, the conference organiser and Co-Director of NWESCC said: “These new laboratories will provide world-class facilities for embryology and stem cell derivation and are one of only a few to be established in the UK with funding from the Medical Research Council”. Dr Cheryl Fitzgerald, Medical Director of the Department of Reproductive Medicine, added: “These facilities will provide an unrivalled clinical service to our patients for the foreseeable future and I am delighted that such an eminent figure as Professor Edwards has agreed to come along and officially open them.” The laboratories were designed by the IVF team at Saint Mary’s, led by the Laboratory Manager Mr Greg Horne and the Quality Manager Ms Alex Ross, to meet the EU Cells and Tissues Directive 2007 and to provide Good Manufacturing Practice conditions for IVF treatment and for the derivation of clinical grade human embryonic stem cell lines. Saint Mary’s will be one of only 6 IVF centres in the UK funded by MRC to reach these quality standards. The new cleanroom laboratories provide much higher air quality than previously available, which will help to improve conditions for IVF and embryo development, to the benefit of IVF patients. It will also mean that any stem cells made will be free of contamination and potentially suitable for transplantation into patients in the future to cure disease. The new laboratories are monitored 24 hours a day by a sophisticated building management system which ensures that all equipment including embryo incubators and freezers are working correctly. A range of sophisticated laboratory equipment has also been incorporated, including new technology such as electronic tracking of embryos using radiofrequency ID tags. Electronic tracking will provide quality assurance that all laboratory procedures have been carried out to the highest standard. This work is funded by grants from the Medical Research Council and the North West Development Agency as part of NWESCC, in collaboration with The University of Manchester.