Britain is to get a national network for stem cell research which will help it become a world leader in tackling incurable diseases, the Chancellor announced today.
Over 10 years, the network will help Britain become "the world's leading location for research-based, science-based and knowledge-based industries", Gordon Brown said.
It will be at the forefront of developments to tackle diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's.
The network will build on the #40 million Research Council investment and #20 million from the Wellcome Trust. It will also be supported by the new UK Stem Cell Foundation.
Mr Brown said: "Stem cell research holds the key to tackling some of the world's most intractable diseases, from diabetes to Parkinson's.
"I firmly believe that Britain can be a world leader."
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the British Medical Association's head of science and ethics, said: "The BMA is pleased that the Chancellor has made a commitment to continue and expand stem cell research in the UK.
"This research offers real hope to the millions of patients with conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and diabetes."
Other targets included making Britain the world's premier location for tracking diseases and developing drugs to treat them.
British businesses should also lead the way in environmentally-friendly technologies such as in carbon capture and storage.
Mr Brown believes the medical breakthroughs can be attempted because "the NHS is potentially the richest source of medical knowledge in the world".
From today Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham join Newcastle, Manchester and York as "science cities" in order to help drive the new wave of research and development.
Mid-sized research companies were promised enhanced research and development tax credit.
And there was a pledge of a guaranteed #100 million share of public sector research contracts to try to spur small technology intensive companies.
Universities opening their research facilities to business could expect funding incentives, he said.
Regional development agencies are also offering more support for growing businesses and help for manufacturers on design. This will include setting up a new Design Centre in Newcastle.