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.