A new Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine is being set up at King’s College London, where the UK’s first human embryonic stem cell lines were generated in 2003.

The Centre, to be based at Guy’s Hospital, will be led by Professor Fiona Watt, former president of the International Society of Stem Cell Research and currently deputy director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

From January 2012, Professor Watt will co-ordinate existing stem cell research at King’s College as well as establishing her own research programme. Her particular interest is in the development and renewal of skin stem cells, an area in which she has pioneered research, the College noted.

The Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine will bring together stem cell research currently conducted across King’s College and the rest of King’s Health Partners, the Academic Health Sciences Centre formed by the College with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

The aim of the new centre is to drive collaborative efforts between scientists and clinicians that will “translate the potential of stem cells into clinical reality for patients”, King’s College said.