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.
Garrett Coyan, MD, sees many patients each week, from children to the elderly, to check on their replacement heart valves. “We have to counsel patients every day on which current technology is right for them, including what medicine they need to take and what limitations they have for their lifestyle,” said Dr. Coyan, a resident in the University of Pittsburgh’s six-year integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency program and a team member in the lab of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine director, William Wagner, PhD. “It can be hard to do sometimes.”
A microelectrode array (MEA) is an implantable device through which neural signals can be obtained or delivered. It is an invaluable tool in neuroscience research and is critical to advancements in brain-computer interface (BCI) research, which has progressed to allow humans to operate robotic devices with their minds.
Surgery can mend congenital heart defects shortly after birth, but those babies will carry a higher risk of heart failure throughout the rest of their lives. Yet, according to a Science Translational Medicine study published by UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh researchers, β-blockers could supplement surgery to regenerate infant heart muscle and mitigate the lasting effects of congenital heart disease.
Magnesium and magnesium alloys have the potential to become a revolutionary material for a variety of industries because of their lightweight structure and ability to quickly biodegrade in water or inside the human body. Researchers, however, are still struggling to process this very reactive metal to eliminate defects that accelerate corrosion.