Merging Science with Technology to Treat Disease
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.
Regenerative Medicine Podcasts
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.
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News and Events
22nd McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Scientific Retreat
With over 200 in attendance, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine held its 2023 Scientific Retreat on March 6-7, 2023. The participation and contributions of the guests and external collaborators – along with McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty and trainees – provided for insightful topics for discussion. The program chair was Bryan Brown, PhD, associate professor Department of Bioengineering with secondary appointments in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
Novel Gene Therapy Delivery System to the Retina
Gene therapy is a highly promising approach for the treatment of retinal blinding diseases, however, safe, efficient, and controlled gene delivery to the retina, particularly in the macula, remains a significant challenge. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member José-Alain Sahel, MD, Chair and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Director of the UPMC Vision Institute, and the Eye and Ear Foundation Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology, is the co-principal investigator on the newly funded NIH/National Eye Institute project entitled, “Retinal-adhesive thermoresponsive gel for AAV-mediated gene delivery to the outer retina.”
Close to 10% of the over 20,000 premature children every year develop airway disorders that often require laryngotracheal reconstruction using cartilage harvested from the rib cage, but this approach is invasive and cannot be applied to younger children, which motivates an urgent need for new, improved technology. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded an innovative approach to produce functional cartilage for grafting using decellularized meniscus from a cadaveric donor where selective digestion of tissue components creates channels for recellularization with autologous cell sources obtained by a minimally invasive biopsy. The in vitro and in vivo proposed studies are aimed at defining new, less invasive, and more effective therapeutic options for laryngotracheal reconstruction. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Riccardo Gottardi, PhD, works closely with clinicians to develop engineering solutions for pediatric airway disorders based on translational tissue engineering and on novel preventative drug delivery approaches with accelerated pathway to the clinic.
Development of Specific Immunotherapies for Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is a substantial health problem that with a prevalence of 18% is the second highest cause of work-related diseases in the USA. There is an unmet need for more specific immunotherapies to treat ACD, which is caused by intricate interactions among neuro-mediators, skin resident cells, and migratory leukocytes. The NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded a 5-year project to investigate relevant mechanisms of these cellular and neuroimmune networks to provide fundamental physiopathologic insight for the development of specific immunotherapies for ACD. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Adriana Larregina, MD, PhD, Professor of Dermatology and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is a co-principal investigator on this project entitled, “Role of Neurokinin 1 Receptor Signaling in Keratinocytes in Allergic Contact Dermatitis.”
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