The City of Regenerative Medicine ...
Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy told the Post-Bulletin newspaper here in Rochester, Minnesota that regenerative medicine is among the top five priorities for Mayo.
Mayo is searching for regenerative medicine specialists across a wide range of disciplines. Regenerative medicine uses cells re-engineered from normal human skin cells into "pluripotent stem cells." Those are the kind of cells that are "adult" stem cells, so you do not need to use the controversial "embryonic stem cells" at all.
Pluripotent stem cells that can be triggered to form any type of tissue. One example Noseworthy suggested is the development of islet cells for people with diabetes. Islet cells are the ones that produce insulin, which is needed to help the body's cells absorb the energy of glucose from foods.
Last year, we reported that Mayo researchers had figured out how to get skin cells to turn into pluripotent stem cells. Researcher Dr. Timothy Nelson told me you'd basically want to keep a heart-failure patient stabilized in the hospital for four or five months after taking some cells from her hand. Once enough cells had been cultured, they would be injected in her heart and her heart would then heal.
This is the type of medicine Mayo is moving toward; the ability to personalize medicine in such a way that your own body provides the so-called "medicine" in the form of replacement tissue and/or organs.
I attended an educational session last week. The presenter said her West Coast company is working on developing cells that could regrow myelin lost during multiple sclerosis, a disease that affected my father for his entire life. He would think that idea is a pretty neat one — and he would smile. He always believed there would one day be a cure for MS, and I kind of think now that I'll possibly live to see that cure in my lifetime (of course, Dad thought that too....).
With the recent announcements that Mayo technology is going to be licensed by a startup company called ReGen Theranostics and that Regen is going to set up shop in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center, that Mayo is making regenerative medicine a top priority and that there are other regenerative-medicine possibilities 'in the wind' (so to speak), don't be surprised if the "Med City" gets a new name — the City of Regenerative Medicine.
Read more at www.postbulletin.com and in the print edition of the Post-Bulletin.
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the Post-Bulletin newspaper, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel