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Regenerative Medicine

If there’s a problem with first-generation organs or tissues, the solution is becoming increasingly likely to come from regeneration.

North Carolina has world-class researchers exploring the leading edge of regenerative medicine, including Anthony Atala, M.D., at Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest University, and cord-blood pioneer Joanne Kurtzberg, M.D., at Duke University in Durham.

Stem Cell. Courtesy of shutterstock.com

And their dream of growing healthy new skin and other organs and tissues from a clump of cells is also finding traction in the world of commerce. Here are a few:

  • Tengion, now a public company with R&D adjacent to Atala’s labs in downtown Winston-Salem, is developing new human tissues and organs (neo-tissues and neo-organs) that are derived from a patient's own cells.
  • Pioneer Surgical Technology develops novel products for tissue regeneration, including E-Matrix, a sterile, injectable biopolymer designed to repair or regenerate diseased or damaged tissue.Itsresearch facility in Greenville was started with the help of $190,000 in funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 1995.
  • Argos Therapeutics is a 12-year-old Duke University spinout. It has some fascinating therapy candidates based on the biology of dendritic cells -- the master switches that turn the immune system on and off. And it was started with help from a $10,000 North Carolina Biotechnology Center Business Development Loan in 1998.

It’s only a matter of time until North Carolina will spawn new generations of regeneration.

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