A confocal microscopic image of a neurosphere, a ball of human embryonic stem cells
“Oh, it’s breathtaking!” Noseworthy said.
“This is really big!”
|Regenerative medicine summarized in four steps
1. Take a few cells from a human.
2. Keep the patient stabilized long enough for more cells to be grown.
3. Re-engineer the cells to turn them into adult pluripotent stem cells (the kind that can be triggered to change into any tissue, without the need for controversial embryonic stem cells).
4. Inject the cells into the damaged tissue of the person from whom they were taken. Or replace the patient’s damaged organ with a new, healthy one (grown from the person’s own cells).
By Jeff Hansel, May 4, 2010, The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN — known for decades by the popular nickname “the Med City” — might soon get a new name: the City of Regenerative Medicine.
Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy says regenerative medicine — the science of growing tissue to replace damaged human organs — has been named a top priority for Mayo.
“Regenerative medicine, it would be fair to say, has been identified as a research priority” Noseworthy told the Post-Bulletin editorial board last week.
On the same path is a small startup company called ReGen Theranostics, which recently got Rochester City Council approval to lease space in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center. That company plans to produce cell lines for use by researchers.
ReGen is seeking a license agreement to use cell-growth technology developed at Mayo, but Mayo’s ambitions go beyond ReGen.
Noseworthy said one Mayo physician researcher, Dr. Timothy Nelson, was studying to become a heart surgeon “and he says, wait a minute. We’re going to be able to grow heart cells. We’re going to be able to regrow the heart!”
Nelson and colleagues figured out how to re-engineer simple skin cells so they could be grown, over the course of about four or five months, into substantial enough numbers that they could be injected into the patient’s heart. Once there, the newly formed “pluripotent stem cells” (stem cells derived from the patient’s own skin that take a few months to grow) can heal the heart.
Pluripotent stem cells can be triggered to develop into any type of human tissue. They eliminate the need to use controversial embryonic stem cells.
Mayo is also moving forward with its own regenerative medicine team. It’s seeking research faculty in areas related to stem cell biology, according to a posting in the online Cell Career Network. It lists developmental biology, tissue bioengineering, islet cell regeneration for diabetes, cartilage biology, neuroregeneration, and heart repair among the sought-after specialties or expected future research areas.
“We’re actually currently looking to identify the leader of the regenerative-medicine team,” Noseworthy said.
Regenerative medicine, he said, has been identified among the top four “major institutional directions” for the clinic.
The possibility to individualize medicine in a way that would allow someone to be treated using the patient’s own cells has profound potential.
“Oh, it’s breathtaking,” Noseworthy said. “This is really big.”
A fluorescent microscopic image of hundreds of human embryonic stem cells in various stages of development
Regenerative Engineering – Constructing Body Parts