Friday, November 19, 2010

Regenerative Medicine: Growing more than 20 types of tissues

Regenerating organs from scratch

By Bruce Goldman
Tony Atala, MD, was the guest speaker yesterday at Stanford's 5th annual Oscar Salvatierra, Jr., M.D. lecture in transplantation. Atala, a pediatric urologist and the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, is a highly regarded tissue-engineering pioneer. He and his colleagues are now growing more than 20 types of tissues, with some notable successes in delivering them to patients with failing or defective organs.

In general, the approach involves creating a scaffold that can be seeded either with the patient's cells, if those of the appropriate type can be harvested, or with stem cells.

The scaffold itself can be the collagenous extracellular matrix of a donor organ whose cells have been removed with detergents, or it can be a wholly artificial construct - Atala's team has been able to create off-the-shelf organ scaffolds using a desktop inkjet printer. The printer is modified to spray not ink but a cell-filled gel, layer by layer, according to a computer program. The output is an intricate three-dimensional structure. When fetal cardiomyocytes - the cells that compose heart muscle - were seeded onto a heart-specific scaffold generated this way, the resulting entity started beating within four hours, Atala told his attentive audience.

As for which kinds of starter-material cells to use, Atala spoke in some detail about a promising class of stem cells isolated from amniotic fluid and placenta. These cells seem somewhat more mature than either embryonic stem (ES) cells or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Yet they multiply robustly and have, so far, been shown capable of differentiating into bone, cartilage, liver, lung, kidney, blood, pancreatic beta cells, intestine and cardiac and endothelial tissues. On the other hand, they do not form teratomas or tumors, a major drawback of both ES and iPS cells. Cherry on the sundae: They appear to suppress immune rejection.
Sounds like progress to me.

I've said it before. One reason I love my job so much is that it's the opposite of writing obituaries.

Regenerative medicine workshops to debut at TERMIS North America Annual Conference

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 –

Tying in with this year's conference theme, "Where Discovery Meets Innovation," two new pre-conference workshops will debut at this year's TERMIS-North America 2010 Conference and Expo (December 5-8, 2010) in Orlando, Fla.

The TERMIS (Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society) North America meeting is hosted by the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and chaired by Anthony Atala, M.D., institute director. James Yoo, M.D., Ph.D., an associate director and chief scientific officer at the institute, is the meeting's scientific program chair.
The workshops, which are co-sponsored by Forecast Technology Group Inc., will offer attendees an opportunity to learn at a more in-depth level about the latest advancements in bone tissue regeneration and biomaterials for cell therapy.

Bone Tissue Engineering and Regeneration, will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5, and will focus on how to accelerate the translation from discovery science to clinical applications, highlight solutions that have been investigated to date, and discuss specific, practical clinician-based approaches versus opting for off-the-shelf products. The scientific organizing committee includes: Jeremy Mao, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor of dental medicine, Columbia University, Regis O'Keefe, M.D., Ph.D., professor of orthopaedics, University of Rochester, and Fei Wang, Ph.D., program director, Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Program, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin.

Hyaluronan Biomaterials for Cell Therapy, will also debut on Sunday, Dec. 5 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Co-sponsored by Glycosan BioSystems, and organized by Glenn Prestwich, Ph.D., presidential professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Utah, this educational program will focus on the chemistry and engineering of novel HA-derived biomaterials, by highlighting the design criteria for clinically useful HA biomaterials, as well as preclinical and clinical applications of HA-derived biomaterials.

A post-conference workshop, TERMIS-NA NIH Grant Writing, will close the annual conference on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The workshop, scheduled for noon to 6 p.m, is designed to help investigators write successful National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications through better understanding of the NIH grant processes, especially in light of the new application and review format. Each component of the new NIH application format will be discussed in detail and tips on how to interpret summary statement and prepare resubmission will be provided. Faculty members include experienced, funded investigators with first-hand NIH review experience. NIH program directors and review officers will be on hand to discuss NIH funding opportunities and review procedures. Students, postdoctoral fellows, clinical fellows, and faculty members are encouraged to attend to gain information and knowledge which will aid them to write competitive NIH grant applications.

The goal of these programs is to offer additional educational opportunities for conference and non-conference participants. More than 35 experts will share case studies and knowledge. Registration for all workshops is separate from the main conference. Due to limited seating, advanced registration is encouraged. For more information, visit

Media Contacts: Karen Richardson,, 336-716-4453.

About TERMIS-NA 2010
The TERMIS (Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society) North America's general conference will cover a wide range of topics within the fields of tissue engineering, biomaterials, stem cells and regenerative medicine. The meeting is designed to foster interactions among basic scientists engaged in discovery and development, translational researchers who bring scientific discoveries to the clinical forefront, clinicians, and those engaged with funding, regulatory and commercial endeavors. The goal of the event is to present and exchange new results and advances in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Register now for the conference by visiting the conference website at or contact Anita Caufield, Executive Producer, Forecast Technology Group Inc.,

About the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine ( is an established center dedicated to the discovery, development and clinical translation of regenerative medicine technologies by leading faculty. The institute has used biomaterials alone, cell therapies, and engineered tissues and organs for the treatment of patients with injury or disease. The Institute is based at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (, an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university's School of Medicine, and Wake Forest University Physicians. The system is consistently ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" by U.S. News & World Report.

About Forecast Technology Group Inc,
Forecast Technology Group Inc. is the executive producer of TERMIS-NA's annual conference and the creator/producer of Innovation Discovery Labs (IDL), a custom-developed educational program designed especially for professional societies and the industries they serve. Forecast provides conference management and educational development services for a variety of professional associations, universities, and businesses.

1 comment:

  1. Whoops... guessed I missed it! But you know, I'm just about 2 years late ;)