Ten research programs along with their corresponding
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
faculty were highlighted in the May issue of Pittsburgh
magazine. Writer Melissa Rayworth notes that, “Teams of McGowan-affiliated engineers and scientists are tackling medical challenges and designing replacement organs that sometimes seem straight out of a sci-fi novel.”
Featured regenerative medicine projects in Ms. Rayworth’s story include:
• Battling Esophageal Cancer: Stephen Badylak, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.D.
; Blair Jobe, M.D.
• Conquering Type 1 Diabetes: Massimo Trucco, M.D.
• Pediatric Liver Cell Therapy: Ira Fox, M.D.
• Growing “Ectopic” Organs: Eric Lagasse, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
• Whole Organ Engineering: Alex Soto-Gutierrez, M.D., Ph.D.
• Corneal Tissue Repair and Regeneration: James Funderburgh, Ph.D.
• Pediatric Ventricular-Assist Device (PediaFlow): Peter Wearden, M.D., Ph.D.
; Harvey Borovetz, Ph.D.
• Muscle Healing: Stephen Badylak, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.D; J. Peter Rubin, M.D.
• Blood Vessel Tissue Engineering: David Vorp, Ph.D.
; William Wagner, Ph.D.
• Craniofacial Bone Tissue Engineering: Charles Sfeir, D.D.S., Ph.D.
; Prashant Kumta, Ph.D.
; Bernard Costello, M.D., D.M.D.
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine operates under three main pillars of research – Medical Devices and Artificial Organs, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, and Cellular Therapies – with a commitment to rapid Clinical Translation. Ms. Rayworth’s article highlighted projects focused on all of these program elements.
• The goal of the Medical Devices and Artificial Organs program is to develop and refine technologies that will maintain, improve, or even restore the function of diseased organs. Research in this area focuses on efforts to replace tissue function with entirely synthetic constructs (fully artificial organs) or with constructs made of both synthetic and cellular components (biohybrid organs).
• Within the Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials program, Institute researchers are working to create biodegradable polymeric materials with appropriate mechanical properties that can be modified to incorporate biological activity. Using these biodegradable materials, tissue engineers are combining temporary scaffolds with cellular components to regenerate tissue.
• The field of cellular therapeutics is vast, affording an exciting array of potential applications. Within the Cellular Therapies program, researchers are working with a variety of cells, including stem cells and genetically manipulated cells, to repair or replace cellular function.
• In the area of clinical translation, through its affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine has access to one of the nation's finest health systems. In fact, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best health systems in the country, with a well-established and well-organized clinical trial infrastructure, and a large, diverse population from which to draw study subjects. In addition, the Institute collaborates with the US Department of Defense in the clinical assessment of regenerative medicine-based therapies.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Pittsburgh (May 2010)