The State of Cell-Based Therapies for Arthritis and Osteoporosis
A new report highlights the latest advances in cell-based therapies for the treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, and it identifies key unanswered questions that should be addressed through ongoing research. The report is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and concurrently in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, and was issued by a joint Task Force of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the Orthopaedic Research Society. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Rocky Tuan, PhD, Vice-Chancellor and President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the former Associate Director of the McGowan Institute, is the co-chair of the Task Force.
As reported by Forbes contributor Robin Seaton Jefferson, LyGenesis, Inc., hopes to enter human trials in 2020 on a therapy that could potentially give patients with end stage liver disease hope for new livers without having to wait on donated organs. The technology, developed through research from McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Eric Lagasse, PharmD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh and LyGenesis’ Chief Scientific Officer, uses lymph nodes as bioreactors to regrow functioning organs within a patient’s own body. The research found that a variety of different cells types and tissues, including the liver, could engraft and actually grow within lymph nodes. The company is working on injecting cadaver cells into lymph nodes to grow secondary livers.
New Alliance with the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory
The McGowan Institute has formed an alliance with the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to develop and demonstrate the how micro-gravity can improve regenerative medicine-based therapies. The ISS provides a unique platform to conduct studies in a microgravity environment.
Dr. Stephen Badylak to Receive BioMed SA’s 2019 Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Deputy Director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, a nationally recognized pioneer in stem cell and tissue regeneration, will receive BioMed SA’s 2019 Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience in San Antonio, Texas, September 19, 2019.
Preventive Drug Therapy May Increase Right-Sided Heart Failure Risk in Patients Who Receive Heart Devices
Patients with left-sided heart failure who get implanted devices to improve the pumping of their hearts may be more likely to develop heart failure on the opposite side of their hearts if they are pre-treated with off-label selective vasodilator drugs, according to new research published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Deputy Director Robert Kormos, MD, FAHA, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, past director of UPMC’s Artificial Heart Program, and the Brack G. Hattler Chair of Cardiothoracic Transplantation, is a co-author on this study.
Clinical Trials Moving Forward for ALung Technologies, Inc.
Technology developed in the McGowan Institute Medical Devices Lab under the leadership of William Federspiel, PhD, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Critical Care Medicine has been incorporated into products for clinical use by ALung, a University of Pittsburgh spinout company. Dr. Federspiel is the Head of the Scientific Advisory Board and co-founder of ALung Technologies, Inc. The ALung devices are now being evaluated in several clinical trials. ALung is the leading provider of low-flow extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal (ECCO2R) technologies for treating patients with acute respiratory failure.
Potential Treatment for Chronic Pain Getting Closer
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Joseph Glorioso III, PhD, Co-founder, CODA Biotherapeutics, and Professor and Emeritus Chair, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is working on a gene therapy approach for treating chronic pain. CODA is developing engineered neurotransmitter receptors that are activated exclusively by orally bioavailable drugs to control the activity of hyperexcitable neurons responsible for chronic neuropathic pain. The gene encoding the receptor is delivered to dysfunctional neurons by proprietary viral vectors that are optimized for robust and targeted gene transfer. Standard neurosurgical procedures are used to administer these viral vectors directly to the neurons to be controlled. Once expressed, the engineered receptor can be activated by the drug to modulate neuronal activity. This enables the selective, tunable and reversible regulation of the receptor – and hence cellular activity – based on the dosing regimen of the drug. CODA is engineering receptors to have exquisite sensitivity for the pharmacological activator, which should dramatically limit off-target side effects that plague many pharmaceutical treatments.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Holds Its Annual Scientific Retreat
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine held its 2019 Scientific Retreat March 11-12, 2019. The focus was on peer-to-peer networking, and the retreat provided many opportunities to explore collaborative endeavors with other researchers, participating guests, and external partners who are working to bring regenerative medicine technologies to clinical use.
Celebrating a Milestone—Dr. Stephen Badylak’s H-index Reaches 100
Congratulations to McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine deputy director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the McGowan Institute, as his h-index (Scopus) has reached 100. The h-index is an author-level metric that attempts to measure both the productivity and citation impact of the publications of a scientist. The index is based on the set of the scientist’s most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications.
Julie Grant, reporting for Pittsburgh’s local CBS affiliate, KDKA, recently visited with McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member George Gittes, MD, Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research and Co-Scientific Director at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She learned that reversing autoimmune type 1 diabetes without immunosuppression has proven to be extremely difficult, but Dr. Gittes and researchers at Children’s Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have achieved that outcome in pre-clinical trials with an engineered, safe virus that does gene therapy.
‘Longevity Protein’ Rejuvenates Muscle Healing in Old Mice
One of the downsides to getting older is that skeletal muscle loses its ability to heal after injury. New research from the University of Pittsburgh implicates the so-called “longevity protein” Klotho, both as culprit and therapeutic target.
Mary Kekatos Health Reporter for the Dailymail.com and the Dailymail.com Reporter, recently detailed in her article that statins could prevent the spread of breast cancer, per a new study. Researchers say the drugs, which combat high cholesterol, do not prevent the cancer from occurring but stop it from spreading to other organs. Experiments performed in human cells and laboratory mice found that the pills prevent tumors from migrating to the lungs and liver.
Technologies from the Badylak Lab Licensed for Development
ECM Therapeutics, Inc. has licensed multiple extracellular matrix (ECM) technologies developed in the laboratory of Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD (pictured top), including hydrogels, bioactive derivatives and methods for delivering these materials within the body. Dr. Badylak is a professor in the Department of Surgery, a deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the Institute.
2018 Health Care Hero Award Winners: Drs. Stephen Badylak and J. Peter Rubin
Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Business Times, the 2018 Health Care Hero Awards honor the individuals, companies, and organizations in western Pennsylvania for their contributions to improving health care in our region.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Does Not Promote Stem Cell-Mediated Cartilage Repair
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is believed to provide pain relief and help to improve joint function in degenerative joint disease, but a new study—coauthored by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Rocky Tuan, PhD, Vice-Chancellor and President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong—has shown that it does not act by promoting stem cell proliferation or enhance the cartilage formation capabilities of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The effects of PRP treatment on cartilage formation and chondrogenesis in the presence of adult human MSCs derived from two different sources are reported in the study published in Tissue Engineering, Part A, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
In the Pitt Summer 2018 edition, author Jennie Dorris highlights the career paths of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member James Funderburgh, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology & Physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and his wife, Martha Funderburgh, MPH, Lab Manager and Sr. Research Technician, Corneal Cell Biology Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The story provides “an exciting outlook for a research team inspired by personal experience and driven by the desire to help others see a brighter future.”
Dr. Steven Little Receives International Young Investigator Award for Development of Novel Drug Delivery Systems
The Controlled Release Society has announced that McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member and University of Pittsburgh professor Steven Little, PhD, is the recipient of its 2018 Young Investigator Award. The honor annually recognizes one individual in the world, 40 years of age or younger, for outstanding contributions to the science of controlled release. Dr. Little is the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.
From Technology Developed at the McGowan Institute, LyGenesis Closes $3 Million Series A Financing to Advance Its Organ Regeneration Technology to the Clinic
LyGenesis, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative technology for organ regeneration, announced recently that they have raised $3 million in Series A financing from Juvenescence, Ltd. LyGenesis’ technology uses lymph nodes as bioreactors to regrow functioning organs within a patient’s own body. The financing will enable LyGenesis to complete the final preclinical work required to enable human clinical trials, which will initially focus on patients with end stage liver disease.
William Wagner, PhD, director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and professor of Surgery, Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, has been selected as the 2018 Inventor of the Year by the Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Holds Its Annual Scientific Retreat
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine held its 2018 Scientific Retreat March 5-6, 2018. The focus was on peer-to-peer networking, and the retreat provided many opportunities to explore collaborative endeavors with other researchers, participating guests, and external partners who are working to bring regenerative medicine technologies to clinical use.
Engineering a Functional Whole Organ for Transplantation
Per the United Network for Organ Sharing, every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list in need of a kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, lung, or intestine, the most needed organs of 2017. As of the end of January 2018, there were 114,883 people needing a lifesaving organ transplant (total waiting list candidates) with 74,722 of those people being active waiting list candidates. Tragically, on average, 20 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. More than 7,000 candidates died in 2016 while on the wait list, or within 30 days of leaving the list for personal or medical reasons, without receiving an organ transplant.
Reversing autoimmune type 1 diabetes without immunosuppression has proven to be extremely difficult, but in a study published in Cell Stem Cell, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report achieving that outcome in mice using gene therapy.
Pittsburgh Business Times Recognizes the McGowan Institute and Affiliated Faculty for Innovative Achievements
Western Pennsylvania has long been a hub for innovation. This year the Pittsburgh Business Times (PBT) introduced its Innovation Awards, a program that recognizes those that made extraordinary advances in their respective fields, challenging conventional thinking. They are the disruptors, creating new products and developing new approaches that challenge traditional approaches. The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine was selected as one of the winners of this inaugural award for its pioneering development and clinical implementation of regenerative medicine-based therapies. Also, the Human Engineering Research Laboratory under the leadership of McGowan Institute affiliated faculty member Rory Cooper, PhD, was recognized for the development of the PneuChair (TM) pneumatic wheelchair as a PBT Innovation Award winner. The third awardee that has a McGowan Institute relationship is Qrono, Inc. This Pittsburgh start-up was formed by McGowan Institute faculty member Steven Little, PhD, and his former graduate student Sam Rothstein, PhD.
As We Celebrate Thanksgiving, Let Us Extend Our Thanks…
To the 240+ scientists, engineers and clinicians that are the teams of professionals who are committed to the development and translation of regenerative medicine and medical device-based therapies;
To the dedicated support staffs who make it possible for the scientists, engineers and clinicians to pursue the goals and objectives of the Institute;
To the hundreds of student trainees who are learning the fundamentals and developing the applications that continue to make regenerative medicine the promise of the future in improved health care and quality of life;
To the many agencies, foundations, companies, and individual donors without whose fiscal support and encouragement the outcomes that we give thanks for would not have been possible, and;
To the many patients who have trusted our teams. These individuals are the true pioneers and the heart of the achievements we recognize.
Since the formation of the McGowan Center for Artificial Organ Development (1992) and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (2001) there have been many accomplishments advancing the science and clinical achievements in regenerative medicine-based therapies. We see progress in the areas of medical devices, tissue engineering and cell-based therapies, and the prospects for the future are many. Thanks for the opportunities and outcomes created by all who participate in or support the initiatives of the McGowan Institute. Best wishes for another successful year!
In roughly 48 hours, the single cell of the fertilized frog egg will undergo dramatic change to develop vital body parts like muscles, a skeleton, eyes, a heart, and a tadpole tail. Scientists have been studying this process to better understand human development, birth defects, and cancer and to advance technologies like organoid generation and cell replacement therapy. Scientists can disrupt embryo development, pause it, and accelerate it; however, they can’t exactly explain how development works. Supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bioengineers at the University of Pittsburgh are taking a crack at understanding what is going on inside the egg.
Dr. Julie Phillippi Receives 5-year, $1.9 Million NIH R01 Award
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Julie Phillippi, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, received NIH funding for her project entitled “Matrix mediated vasa vasorum dysfunction in thoracic aortic disease.” The funding period is August 2017 through June 2022. The total award is $1,901,221.
Nanoscale Forces Measured in Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells Tell Story of Disease
Researchers from Virginia Tech and the University of Pittsburgh have collaborated to employ a novel nanoscale fibrous system that can measure the tiny forces exerted by and upon individual cells with extreme precision. The team hopes that this platform, which investigators call nanonet force microscopy (NFM), will provide new knowledge about smooth muscle cell biology that could have implications for treating cardiovascular disease, which is still a leading cause of death in the United States.
Drag reducing polymers decrease hepatic injury and metastases
The work of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Marina Kameneva, PhD, Research Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Professor of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, and Director of the Artificial Blood Program at the McGowan Institute, and colleagues recently appeared in the May 31, 2017, online issue of the publication, Oncotarget. Co-authors on the paper are Samer Tohme, Hamza O. Yazdani, Vikas Sud, Julie Goswami, Patricia Loughran, Hai Huang Richard L. Simmons, and Allan Tsung, all of the University of Pittsburgh.
Precision Medicine Improves Treatment Outcomes for Some Pancreatic Cancer Patients
University of Pittsburgh and UPMC researchers are paving the way for genome-targeted treatments in pancreatic cancer, an especially deadly form of cancer with few existing therapeutic options, according to a pair of recent studies.
McGowan Institute Affiliated Faculty Members Receive CSC Awards for Excellence
The Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie Science Awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania. The Carnegie Science Awards have honored the accomplishments of more than 500 individuals and organizations whose contributions in the fields of science, technology, and education have impacted our region’s industrial, academic, and environmental vitality.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Holds Its Annual Scientific Retreat
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine held its 2017 Scientific Retreat on March 5-7, 2017. The retreat provided many opportunities to explore collaborative endeavors with other researchers, participating guests, and external partners who are working to bring regenerative medicine technologies to clinical use. The 2017 Retreat program included technical and strategic planning sessions. The program was designed to facilitate insightful discussions and to identify opportunities for partnerships and new initiatives.
The National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), recently honored its 2016 Papers of the Year—the top 25 of 2700 publications. In that elite group, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Fabrisia Ambrosio, PhD, MPT, Director of Rehabilitation for UPMC International and an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh, and her team were recognized for their paper entitled “Arsenic promotes NF-kB-mediated fibroblast dysfunction and matrix remodeling to impair muscle stem cell function,” published in the journal Stem Cells. McGowan Institute faculty member Donna Stolz, PhD, Associate Director of the Center for Biologic Imaging, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Cell Biology and Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh, is a co-author on the study.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty members–
William Federspiel, PhD, William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Bioengineering with secondary appointments in Chemical Engineering and Critical Care Medicine, and Director of the Medical Devices Laboratory at the McGowan Institute,
William Wagner, PhD, Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine as well as a Professor of Surgery, Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and
Peter Wearden, MD, PhD, congenital cardiothoracic surgeon and Department Chair, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, Department of Cardiovascular Services at the Nemours Children’s Health System, Orlando, Florida–
are the principal investigators on a recently funded R01 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health entitled “Ambulatory Assist Lung for Children.”
Dr. William R. Wagner Named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors
William R. Wagner, PhD, Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Professor of Surgery, Bioengineering & Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow status have been nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. The 2016 Fellows Gala and Induction Ceremony will take place as part of the NAI 6th Annual Conference on April 6, 2017, in Boston.
As We Celebrate Thanksgiving, Let Us Extend Our Thanks…
To the 230+ scientists, engineers and clinicians that are part of the team of professionals who are committed to the development and translation of regenerative medicine and medical device-based therapies
Results of a study recently published online in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis indicated positive results from a preclinical study to assess the effectiveness of a hydrogel for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The study was led by McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine deputy director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, in collaboration with Asana Medical, Inc. The study focused on effectiveness of an ExtraCellular Matrix Hydrogel (ECMH) in the treatment of IBD. Asana has a field-limited exclusive license to certain patent rights for this technology from the University of Pittsburgh.
Pitt Innovation Challenge—PInCh—Recognizes McGowan Institute Affiliated Faculty
The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) sponsored the 4th Pitt Innovation Challenge. This year’s challenge was focused on bold solutions in health. CTSI aims to move health-related research projects along the translational spectrum, not just to commercialization. Ideas and solutions did not need to be products ready for commercialization—basic science projects were encouraged to apply. In addition, the program encouraged new connections within the academic community, and among universities and community organizations, to foster an ecosystem of innovation.
Pitt Researchers Identify Important Mechanism for Biological Scaffold Inductive Abilities
A study from the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine identifies a mechanism by which bioscaffolds used in regenerative medicine influence cellular behavior, a question that has remained unanswered since the technology was first developed several decades ago. The findings were recently published online in Science Advances.