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.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
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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.
A novel computational platform developed by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine identifies top-performing viral vectors that could deliver gene therapies to the retina with maximum efficiency and precision. The technology, described in a paper published in the journal eLife, streamlines development of gene therapy approaches for the treatment of genetic blinding disorders. The approach saves precious time and resources by speeding up identification of suitable gene-carrying candidates able to deliver therapy to an affected part of the retina with astounding accuracy.
In the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical community turned to a century-old treatment: Take blood from recovered patients and give it to the sick. The hypothesis was that components in the so-called “convalescent plasma” that fought off the disease once could do it again, something that has worked in other diseases, such as Ebola.
On its face, agriculture seems simple: crops need water, sunlight, and soil to grow. The soil that crops are planted in, however, is complex. In order for plants to thrive, fertile soil requires a variety of elements that can become depleted over time, including nitrogen. Nitrogen moves through the environment, changing forms as it goes from the atmosphere to the soil, to the plants rooted in the soil, to the animals that eat the plants, and finally back into the atmosphere. Agriculture can disrupt this loop—known as the nitrogen cycle—leading farmers to supplement more nitrogen into the soil, a practice with its own set of environmental risks.
There is growing evidence that cellular senescence plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of chronic liver diseases. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Michael Oertel, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Division of Experimental Pathology, Department of Pathology, and a member of the Liver Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, is a co-principal investigator on a project that will dissect the role of the activin A/p15INK4b axis in inducing senescence and how it impacts chronic liver disease progression. Uncovering mechanism(s) and identifying essential mediators of hepatocyte senescence will provide fundamental new information for developing novel therapeutic strategies to halt progression of chronic liver diseases.