Professor Sheila MacNeil
Translating biomaterials and cell therapy to the clinic
I have been involved in delivering cell therapy to the clinic since 1992. This started with an interaction with the Burns Unit in a Sheffield hospital where I cultured autologous epithelial keratinocytes for patients with extensive full thickness burns. After a 10 year audit of this it became clear there was room for improvement . We improved on the cell delivery system, developing a carrier system, Myskin™, through a spin out company, CellTran Ltd. The development of the carrier was only possible because of our sustained support from surgeons in the Burns Unit and then later colleagues working with diabetic ulcers – we published a small single-blind study demonstrating that MySkin offered benefit to patients with diabetic ulcers . The product, Myskin™, has been used by 11 out of the 13 Burns Units in the UK and has been on the market for a decade now.
Following that I have produced tissue engineered skin and taken that to small scale evaluation in patients , tissue engineered buccal mucosa where we have used this for replacing scarred tissue of the urethra  and, more recently, I have developed an alternative to the amniotic membrane for the regeneration of the cornea working with colleagues in India .
1. Hernon CA, Dawson RA, Freedlander E, Short R, Haddow DB, Brotherston M and MacNeil S. Clinical experience using cultured epithelial autografts leads to an alternative methodology for transfering skin cells from the laboratory to the patient. Regenerative Medicine 1(6):809-821. (2006)
2. Moustafa M, Bullock AJ, Creagh FM, Heller S, Jeffcoate W, Game F, Amery C, Tesfaye S, Ince Z, Haddow DB and MacNeil S. Randomised controlled single blind prospective pilot study on the use of autologous keratinocytes on a transfer dressing (Myskin) in the treatment of non-healing diabetic ulcers. Regenerative Medicine 2(6):887-902. (2007)
3. MacNeil S. Progress and Opportunities in Tissue Engineering of Skin. Nature Insights. Nature 445, 874-880 (2007)
4. Osman N. Long-term follow-up after tissue engineered buccal mucosa urethroplasty. European Urology. 66(1):790-791 (2014).
5. Deshpande P, Ramachandran C, Sefat F, Mariappan I, Johnson C, McKean R, Hannah M, Sangwan VS, Claeyssens F, Ryan AJ, MacNeil S. Simplifying corneal surface regeneration using a biodegradable synthetic membrane and limbal tissue explants. Biomaterials. 34(21): 5088-5106 (2013)
Sheila is Professor of Tissue Engineering at Sheffield University ( non-clinical) with expertise in tissue engineering of skin, oral mucosa, urethra, oesophagus and cornea with a strong focus on translating research to the clinic. She has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles with over 7000 citations and has an h-index of 45. Since 1992 she has worked with clinicians in Sheffield, delivering autologous keratinocytes to burns patients and developed and commercialised improved delivery of skin cells to patients with MySkin™ and Cryoskin™ (autologous and allogeneic cell therapy for wound healing), available for NHS patients via Regenerys Ltd (www.regenerys.com). She has also worked extensively with NHS Urologist Professor Chris Chapple in Sheffield to develop tissue engineered oral mucosa for reconstruction of urethral stricture and published a 9 year follow-up on this recently. Another key project is developing cell delivery membranes for corneal defects (Wellcome Trust Affordable Healthcare for India) working with colleagues in India. She has also been developing an alternative material for support of the urethra with Professor Chris Chapple over the last 6 years which will better withstand the dynamic pressures in the pelvic floor.
She received the UK Society of Biomaterials President’s medal for her contributions to Biomaterials in both the UK and overseas in September 2014. In March 2017 she received a Suffrage Science award for providing an example for women in research .