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.
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.
The path to impact for basic life science research can be long and filled with big gaps: in time and in resources. A case in point is the research of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Kacey Marra, PhD, Professor in the Departments of Plastic Surgery in the School of Medicine and Bioengineering in the School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and is the Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Plastic Surgery, on repairing large gaps in traumatically injured nerves.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has awarded a grant of $2.59 million to George Gittes, MD, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research, co-scientific director at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, to support continuing development of gene therapy technology that may have the potential to cure Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, which affects approximately 10% of the U.S. population, or more than 34 million people.
Hepatocytes — the chief functional cells of the liver — are natural regenerators, and the lymph nodes serve as a nurturing place where they can multiply. In a new study published in the journal Liver Transplantation, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that large animals with ailing livers can grow a new organ in their lymph nodes from their own hepatocytes. A human clinical trial is next.