In Brief
  • The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is leading projects to expedite the development of regenerative medicine.
  • The group will work to standardize materials and practices to achieve this goal.

Growing Good Health

Major strides are being made in the field of regenerative medicine. Developments have been made growing tissue and even organs in labs to help restore normal functionality in patients. Many of these regenerative therapies take advantage of the advancements made in stem cell research. There have already been breakthroughs that could potentially give us the ability to repair nerve damage or even grow entire organs and limbs.

A new initiative is seeking to speed up innovation in this area of medicine. The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) is leading the $20 million initiative to, according to a release from the hospital, “apply advanced manufacturing to regenerative medicine. The goal is to speed up the availability of replacement tissues and organs to patients.”

“We are excited to be at the forefront of this next frontier in regenerative medicine,” says Anthony Atala, M.D., director of WFIRM, who is looking forward to revolutionizing and invigorating this field of medicine. “Just like the invention of the moving assembly line reduced the cost of cars and made them commonplace, the field of regenerative medicine must develop standardized manufacturing processes to successfully make replacement tissues and organs more widely available.”

3D Printed Ear Scaffolds. Photo source: WFIRM
3D Printed Ear Scaffolds. Image Credit: WFIRM

Life-Saving Growth

According to the release, the initiative is focused on two main projects. The first aims to create standardized “bioinks” that can be used in the process of printing tissue and organs. The second project will focus on developing standardized liquids on which the printed cells can grow.

Standardizing materials and practices will lead to better treatments being developed at a quicker pace. On the regulatory side, it will also speed up the approval process so these lifesaving treatments can be used expediently.

Regenerative medicine will open up new possibilities in the medical field. There will be new options for patients in treatment that would have, until very recently, been thought of as only possible in science-fiction.