Regenerative medicine uses clinical procedures to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissues and organs, versus some traditional therapies that just treat symptoms.
To realize the vast potential of tissue engineering and other techniques aimed at repairing damaged or diseased tissues and organs, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC established the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The McGowan Institute serves as a single base of operations for the University’s leading scientists and clinical faculty working to develop tissue engineering, cellular therapies, and artificial and biohybrid organ devices.
The McGowan Institute is the most ambitious regenerative program in the nation, coupling biology, clinical science, and engineering. Success in our mission will impact patients’ lives, bring economic benefit, serve to train the next generation of researchers, and advance the expertise of our faculty in the basic sciences, engineering, and clinical sciences. Our efforts proudly build upon the pioneering achievements of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.
While there are certain select therapies based on regenerative medicine principles now in clinical use, much work lies ahead to realize the potential of this growing field. Advances in the underlying science, engineering strategies to harness this science, and successful commercial activities are all required to bring new therapies to patients.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219
The McGowan Institute sponsors a podcast series on regenerative medicine. Listen to some of the world's leading regenerative medicine researchers and physicians talk about their work.
Previously reported are the results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine that showed significant improvement in strength and range of motion, as well as evidence for skeletal muscle regeneration, in 13 patients who were surgically implanted with bioscaffolds derived from pig tissue to treat muscle injuries. The patients had failed to respond to conventional treatment before use of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The findings were published online in npj Regenerative Medicine.
The same technology used in COVID-19 vaccines holds promise as a new approach to liver disease treatment. Michele Dula Baum, Senior Writer/Project Manager, Strategic Communications, Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences, reports in PittMed where the science is heading in this new therapy methodology. Growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico, Alejandro Soto-Gutiérrez, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh, an affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, felt helpless when a beloved uncle died of liver disease. Since then, the physician-scientist has dedicated his career to changing the odds for people facing the condition’s devastating end stage, for which the only cure is a transplant.
Fighting cancer and chronic disease is tiring work for the immune system. When T cells are engaged in this kind of lengthy battle, they can become exhausted, or unable to function properly. One immunotherapy that revitalizes these cells by blocking an immune checkpoint protein called LAG3 was recently approved by federal regulators. But exactly how LAG3 works has remained a mystery — until now. Published in Nature Immunology, a new study pinpoints how LAG3 modulates T cell activity, providing important insights for development of other LAG3-blocking therapies for cancer and autoimmune disorders. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Simon Watkins, Ph.D. (pictured), the founder and director of the Center for Biologic Imaging at the University of Pittsburgh, a member of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Institute, and a distinguished professor and vice chairman within the Department of Cell Biology, is a co-author of the study.
The Department of Defense isn’t what most people would associate with the field of transplantation science, but for McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Hēth Turnquist, PhD (pictured), associate professor in the Department of Surgery and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, they are a major partner for his work. Since 2011, Dr. Turnquist has led a transplant immunology-focused research program that is working to understand how immune cells respond to tissue damage. Their goal is to now harness their new knowledge on the mechanisms the immune system uses to regulate the responses of other immune cells and complete tissue repair after injury for the benefit of transplant recipients.