Regenerative Medicine

Helping humans heal

In a lab on the upper floors of Engineering Hall, something is growing. It’s not a plant. And it’s not an animal. What Ronke Olabisi is growing in her lab is us. From new skin and retinal tissue to hearts and livers, she’s developing the tools to rebuild and repair the human body. A UCI assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Olabisi has been working with regenerative tissue for the better part of seven years, using a hydrogel based on polyethylene glycol diacrylate.

Mayo Clinic preclinical discovery triggers wound healing, skin regeneration

Difficult-to-treat, chronic wounds in preclinical models healed with normal scar-free skin after treatment with an acellular product discovered at Mayo Clinic. Derived from platelets, the purified exosomal product, known as PEP, was used to deliver healing messages into cells of preclinical animal models of ischemic wounds. The Mayo Clinic research team documented restoration of skin integrity, hair follicles, sweat glands, skin oils and normal hydration.

Ischemic wounds occur when arteries are clogged or blocked, preventing important nutrients and oxygen from reaching the skin to drive repair. This groundbreaking study titled, “TGF-β Donor Exosome Accelerates Ischemic Wound Healing,” is published in Theranostics.

Evan Snyder named Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has elected to its College of Fellows Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., professor and founding director of the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Snyder was nominated, reviewed, and elected by his peers and members of the College of Fellows for his seminal contributions to regenerative medicine.

Scientists use bacteria as micro-3D printers

A team at Aalto University has used bacteria to produce intricately designed three-dimensional objects made of nanocellulose. With their technique, the researchers are able to guide the growth of bacterial colonies through the use of strongly water repellent – or superhydrophobic – surfaces.

Scientists use gene therapy and a novel light-sensing protein to restore vision in mice

A newly developed light-sensing protein called the MCO1 opsin restores vision in blind mice when attached to retina bipolar cells using gene therapy. The National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, provided a Small Business Innovation Research grant to Nanoscope, LLC for development of MCO1. The company is planning a U.S. clinical trial for later this year.

AAOS Advances Biologics Initiative with Innovative Dashboard

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) continues to demonstrate its commitment to advancing the quality of musculoskeletal care in a fully transparent and scientific way. Debuting today as a new member benefit, the AAOS Biologics Dashboard is a dynamic online tool designed to help orthopaedic surgeons navigate the approval status of biologic-based interventions. The development of the AAOS Biologics Dashboard is just one of several efforts within the Academy’s Biologics Initiative that offers evidence-based guidance to the musculoskeletal health community. An additional effort is the revision of two biologics-related position statements, recently approved by the AAOS Board of Directors.

Could a tiny fish hold the key to curing blindness?

Imagine this: A patient learns that they are losing their sight because an eye disease has damaged crucial cells in their retina. Then, under the care of their doctor, they simply grow some new retinal cells, restoring their vision.

Although science hasn’t yet delivered this happy ending, researchers are working on it – with help from the humble zebrafish. When a zebrafish loses its retinal cells, it grows new ones. This observation has encouraged scientists to try hacking the zebrafish’s innate regenerative capacity to learn how to treat human disease. That is why among the National Eye Institute’s 1,200 active research projects, nearly 80 incorporate zebrafish.

Scientists uncover a novel approach to treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys, Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS, and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome have shown that pharmacological (drug) correction of the content of extracellular vesicles released within dystrophic muscles can restore their ability to regenerate muscle and prevent muscle scarring. The study, published in EMBO Reports, reveals a promising new therapeutic approach for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an incurable muscle-wasting condition.

Putting “Super” in Natural Killer Cells

Using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and deleting a key gene, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have created natural killer cells — a type of immune cell — with measurably stronger activity against a form of leukemia, both in vivo and in vitro.

Scientists show MRI predicts the efficacy of a stem cell therapy for brain injury

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and Loma Linda University Health have demonstrated the promise of applying magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict the efficacy of using human neural stem cells to treat a brain injury—a first-ever “biomarker” for regenerative medicine that could help personalize stem cell treatments for neurological disorders and improve efficacy. The study was published in Cell Reports.

How “Pioneer” Protein Turns Stem Cells into Organs

Early on in each cell, a critical protein known as FoxA2 simultaneously binds to both the chromosomal proteins and the DNA, opening the flood gates for gene activation, according to a new study led by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The discovery, published in Nature Genetics, helps untangle mysteries of how embryonic stem cells develop into organs.

‘Primitive’ Stem Cells Shown to Regenerate Blood Vessels in The Eye

Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists say they have successfully turned back the biological hands of time, coaxing adult human cells in the laboratory to revert to a primitive state, and unlocking their potential to replace and repair damage to blood vessels in the retina caused by diabetes. The findings from this experimental study, they say, advance regenerative medicine techniques aimed at reversing the course of diabetic retinopathy and other blinding eye diseases.

Study Reveals New Way to Treat Stroke Using an Already FDA-Approved Drug

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) is currently used to treat neutropenia due to chemotherapy and has been successfully used for patients who require bone marrow transplants. The study is the first to report on the neuroprotective effect of GCSF in vivo and showed that it improved neurological deficits that occur in the first few days following cerebral ischemia. GCSF improved long-term behavioral outcomes while also stimulating a neural progenitor recovery response in a mouse model.

A Robot and Software Make it Easier to Create Advanced Materials

A Rutgers-led team of engineers has developed an automated way to produce polymers, making it much easier to create advanced materials aimed at improving human health. The innovation is a critical step in pushing the limits for researchers who want to explore large libraries of polymers, including plastics and fibers, for chemical and biological applications such as drugs and regenerative medicine through tissue engineering.