McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Deputy Director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD (pictured), received the add-on to his Advanced Regenerative Medicine 3 project entitled “Control of the Microenvironmental Niche to Promote Epimorphic Regeneration in Amputated Digits” from the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative. The proposed study addresses one of the most pressing needs of the wounded soldier population: the replacement of lost digits and limbs. This study challenges a fundamental tenet of the mammalian response to tissue injury; specifically, the concept that regeneration of complex tissues following severe injury is not possible in adult mammals.
Dr. Badylak and his team are working to prove that such regeneration is indeed possible. To support this hypothesis, endogenous stem cells have successfully been recruited to the injury site through the use of chemotactic matricryptic peptides derived from extracellular matrix. This cell mass is called a “multipotential cell cluster” and it is similar, but not identical, to the true blastema of regenerating species such as the newt. The research aims:
- to identify the genetic signature that characterizes constructive tissue remodeling as opposed to scar tissue formation;
- to produce a prototype biodome that can locally manipulate and control factors such as hydration state, pH, oxygen tension, electrical potential, and nutrient composition at the site of a multipotential cell cluster in a mouse model of digit amputation;
- to form bone and functional contractile tissue at the site of digit amputation in a mouse model; and
- to develop and document the formation of a nerve and vascular plexus into the regenerated digit tissue.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Stephen Badylak Laboratory
Bio: Dr. Stephen Badylak