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July 18th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Lung Regeneration in the Center for Regenerative Medicine

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine has the potential to provide innovative new therapies for people with lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)pulmonary fibrosiscystic fibrosispulmonary arterial hypertension and bronchiolitis obliterans.

In their end stages, these diseases are today treated with medications or lung transplants, though there is an ongoing shortage of donor lungs that are acceptable for transplantation.

Research into lung preservation, lung recellularization and stem cell biology in the Center for Regenerative Medicine is leading to the development of new regenerative therapies for people with a wide range of lung diseases. Research in this areas is focused on recellularization of decellularized lungs and stem cell engimeering.

Mayo Clinic researchers are studying lung decellularization and recellularization toward a goal of on-demand production of patient-specific, transplant-ready lungs.

Lung decellularization involves removing all the cells from a donor lung, leaving behind just a tissue scaffold that can be recellularized (repopulated) with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from a patient's own cells. Mayo researchers are working toward generating a functioning lung suitable for transplantation by recellularizing a decellularized porcine lung.

Given these promising results in animal models, Mayo investigators are now working to recellularize human lungs. They're also populating decellularized matrix fragments with iPS cells to determine how iPS cells can optimally be made to differentiate into various types of lung cells.

Stem cell engineering. To better understand how to effectively and consistently produce patient-specific iPS cells for lung-related clinical applications, Mayo Clinic researchers are conducting a clinical trial in which they generate iPS cells from skin fibroblasts of people with various end-stage lung diseases.

With further research, investigators believe these iPS cells could be differentiated into patient-specific pulmonary epithelial cells and delivered back to the patient by way of cell therapy.

Learn more:

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June 18th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

State of Minnesota Invests in Regenerative Medicine

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

AT-testifyingRegenerative medicine recently got a boost in Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic is among the institutions that will benefit.

During the 2014 Minnesota legislative session the legislature passed, and Governor Mark Dayton signed, legislation including funding for a regenerative medicine collaboration with the University of Minnesota.

The new initiative will receive $4.5 million in funding from the State of Minnesota this year and $4.35 million in subsequent years to support regenerative medicine research, clinical translation and commercialization efforts. Additionally, the regenerative medicine initiative will include representatives from private industry and others with expertise in in these areas that are not affiliated with the University or Mayo Clinic.

“Through this event, the state of Minnesota is essentially embracing regenerative medicine and surgery as the future of health care,” says Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Below, Dr. Terzic answers some questions about regenerative medicine and this new initiative:

Q: What is regenerative medicine?

A: Regenerative medicine and surgery uses the body’s ability to restore structure and function. At Mayo Clinic, the Center for Regenerative Medicine is addressing the root causes of diseases, injuries and congenital anomalies by using the body’s natural ability to heal itself (rejuvenation), delivering cells or cell products to diseased tissues or organs to restore function (regeneration), and using healthy cells, tissues or organs from a living or deceased donor to replace damaged ones (replacement).

Q: How will the money be used?

A: While Mayo Clinic will work closely with the University to establish a process going forward, the intent is to support regenerative medicine research, clinical translation, and commercialization efforts in Minnesota. There is great promise in this field of medicine, and we have a unique opportunity to leverage the strengths of institutions like the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic to position Minnesota more competitively.

Q: What does the investment in regenerative medicine mean for the state of Minnesota?

A: Support for regenerative medicine from the state will not only help advance the science, but will position our state more competitively and demonstrate that this field of medicine is a priority. The new law will place Minnesota among several other states that have backed such research with state funds. Using regenerative medicine, we are creating new therapies that we believe will lead to innovative and definitive solutions for our patients. We also believe that we can open new economic opportunities through commercialization of technologies as the field evolves.

Q: What was it like being part of the legislative process/testifying?

A: It was gratifying to see the legislative interest and commitment to regenerative medicine. I have a strong appreciation for the work and choices that our elected officials make on a daily basis. We are pleased that creating and providing funding for this new initiative between Mayo Clinic and the University was included in the end.

The opportunity to provide testimony enabled me to share the promise of regenerative medicine, answer very good and thoughtful questions, and witness great interest and support for the work we are doing and the work we will do with the University with the passage of this bill.

Learn more about regenerative medicine at Mayo Clinic in the video below:


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June 9th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

New Hope: Stem Cell Trial for ALS Patients

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

From the pages of Mayo Clinic Magazine.

Ted Haakonson

Ted Haakonson

Regenerative medicine at Mayo Clinic harnesses its collective knowledge, resources and skills to teach the body to heal from within. This unprecedented science offers patients definitive solutions for devastating diseases and conditions.


Patient Number Five

“We thought, ‘jeez, this cure has to start somewhere, someone has to be patient zero,’” says Ted Haakonson. He is patient number five in the Center for Regenerative Medicine’s clinical trial testing stem cells to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

He was shocked when his local doctor told him he had ALS two years ago. The only symptom he had noticed was a weak thumb. But by the time the 49-year-old received the stem cell treatment at Mayo Clinic a year later, both his hands were weak, his legs twitched uncontrollably and he fell asleep several times a day.

Within a couple of weeks, his legs became steadier and his energy levels rose.

“I’m of the belief that it has helped quite a bit,” Ted says.

“The rate of progression seems to have slowed, and I’m still doing whatever I want to do. Some things like baking and woodworking take a lot longer, but I hate to think of where I’d be right now if I hadn’t been accepted into the study or gotten the stem cells. It was like winning the lottery.”


Engineering a Cure

In ALS, nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord progressively degenerate and eventually die, leaving the brain unable to control muscle movement. There is no cure. But Mayo Clinic’s Anthony J. Windebank, M.D., deputy director-Discovery of the Center for Regenerative Medicine, and Nathan P. Staff, M.D., Ph.D., are providing new hope.

The team in the Human Cell Therapy Lab takes cells from fat tissue and re-engineers them into stem cells. They then enhance the ability of these cells — technically known as mesenchymal stem cells — to promote nerve health.

As part of the country’s first phase one stem cell trial for ALS patients, the team placed these cells directly into Ted’s spinal fluid, believing the stem cells would secrete growth factors and protect nerve cells from further degeneration.

The investigators quickly caution that the primary goal of phase one studies is to measure safety, which makes the investigators grateful to participants like Ted who selflessly enter the unknown. The investigators also caution that not all trial participants describe the same improvements as Ted, though they are confident the technology is on the right track to benefit patients with this uniformly fatal disease.

Learn more about how researchers are studying the use of intraspinal deliver of mesenchymal stem cells to the cerebral spinal fluid of patients with ALS using a dose-escalation study below:

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#RegMedClass: Taking Class Notes Using Social Media

May 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

#RegMedClass: Taking Class Notes Using Social Media

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

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May 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

An inside look at the Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

BiotrustRecently, the Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust held an open house. In the video below, Dennis Wigle, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust; Mindy Rice, Research Operations Manager, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Zachary Resch, Ph.D., Program Manager, Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust talk about this key component of regenerative medicine at Mayo Clinic. Located on the Rochester, Minnesota campus, the Biotrust facilitates the collection, processing, manipulation, storage and distribution of human biospecimen samples, such as tissue or cells. These samples create a library of material available to all Mayo Clinic investigators for use in the development of new regenerative medicine treatments and technologies.


More information:

Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust Website

The Biotrust: Focusing the Power of Regenerative Medicine 


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May 6th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Organizers of 2014 World Stem Cell Summit Announced

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

wscs14logo-16by9Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) recently announced the organizing partners of the 10th annual meeting of the global stem cell community, shaping the next year of progress in regenerative medicine.

Mayo Clinic, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences and BioBridge Global have joined GPI to organize the summit which will be held at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas, December 3-5, 2014.

"We are looking forward to working with Mayo Clinic and the other organizing partners to develop a comprehensive agenda for the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit in San Antonio this December,” says Bernard Siegel, founder of the summit and executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute. “We have enjoyed working with the Mayo Clinic team over the past two years and are thrilled to have Mayo researchers and physicians participate, helping to promote the patient-focused mission of the summit."

Regenerative medicine is a game-changing area of medicine with the potential to fully heal damaged tissues and organs, offering solutions and hope for people who have conditions that today are beyond repair. The World Stem Cell Summit brings together prominent industry leaders, scientists, clinicians, students, regulators, policymakers, patient advocates, philanthropists, economic development officers and experts in law and ethics to advance the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

In the video below (shot at the 2013 World Stem Cell Summit), Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic, describes how Mayo has embraced regenerative medicine as a strategy for the future of health care.

“The summit is a great opportunity for the community of regenerative medicine to gather and share the advances of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine and surgery today,” says Dr. Terzic.

Visit the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit website to learn more, and check out some highlights of Mayo Clinic at the 2013 summit here:

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April 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

The Biotrust: Focusing the Power of Regenerative Medicine

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

The stem cell approach is the heart of regenerative medicine. In the past few years its promise has become reality with Mayo Clinic delivering regenerative treatments for osteonecrosis, tendonitis and reconstructive surgery.

With the growing interest in regenerative medicine research and treatment, Mayo Clinic established the Regenerative Medicine Biotrust, which helps researchers more efficiently collect samples, process cells and share results.

“The process of harvesting a cell, differentiating it into specialized tissues, expanding it into big numbers, then using them for real applications in research, clinical applications, clinical trials, etc. – that’s complicated,” says Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Regenerative Medicine Biotrust. “You need an infrastructure to be able to do that.”

Building on Mayo Clinic’s expertise in biobanking, the Regenerative Medicine Biotrust gives researchers and clinicians access to living cells. The approach will fast-track discovery, accelerating the time-consuming processes of specimen collection and conversion. In this way, teams of scientists and clinicians will develop focused questions and go right to the prepared cells to find the answer.

 “The Biotrust puts Mayo at the cutting edge in investigating how fast we can make new technologies, apply new technologies and do it for real clinical care,” Dr. Wigle says. “This will advance regenerative solutions for our patients.”

To learn more, watch the video below:

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March 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Building a Better Liver

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

From the pages of Mayo Clinic Magazine.

The spheroid liver cell (hepatocyte). Millions of these are needed to approximate the function of the natural human liver.

The spheroid liver cell (hepatocyte). Millions of these are needed to approximate the function of the natural human liver.

The Center for Regenerative Medicine Is Working on Treatments Unimaginable 10 Years Ago

A few years ago, nature dealt a fatal blow to Cassandra Rohrer, a 16-year-old patient of Scott Nyberg, M.D., Ph.D. She was fighting for her life with the assistance of an experimental artificial liver device, which was keeping her alive but couldn’t do so much longer. She needed a liver transplant.

After two days on the device, her family got the news that an organ was available and being flown from Michigan. The family and a team of caregivers jumped into action, preparing the girl for her lifesaving transplant. But the team delivering the liver got caught in a thunderstorm and didn’t make it in time. The girl became neurologically unstable and did not wake up after surgery.

“People with liver failure, one of the main causes of death is ammonia buildup in your blood,” Dr. Nyberg says. “Proteins break down and produce ammonia, essentially making oven cleaner, and it causes your brain to swell and you die from brain herniation. If any one of us overdoses from Tylenol and kills our liver, we’d die of brain herniation probably in two to three days if we didn’t get a liver transplant.”

Since then, Dr. Nyberg has kept a picture of Cassandra to remind him why he spends long hours searching for new treatments.

His search has taken him to places unimaginable 10 years ago. He began his work seeking to build a better artificial liver device, one that uses large doses of human liver cells and can treat patients for longer periods of time until they receive a transplant. It’s still a primary goal, but now he envisions also using a patient’s stem cells to bioengineer healthy liver cells, then transplanting them back to the patient to cure a diseased liver.

“Doctors are already doing liver cell transplants, but the supply of human cells is very limited, so there are only a few of them done a year,” Dr. Nyberg says. “Many diseases you can treat and cure with just the cells. There’s a large demand for cell transplants.”

He and colleagues in Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine are pioneering a method to grow a large number of patient-specific liver cells to meet demand. They are also using these cells to try to create whole new livers, tailored to individual patients.

A New Liver of Your Own

Today, there are simply not enough livers available. About one in ten people on the liver transplant waiting list will die before an organ becomes available.

A contributing factor to the shortage is that sometimes a donated liver has a defect that makes it unusable. To save more lives, Dr. Nyberg is working with the regenerative medicine company Miromatrix to remove all the cells from these defective livers, leaving only a scaffold. He’s working with Mayo Clinic’s Allan Dietz, Ph.D., to populate the scaffold with stem cells taken from the patient, creating a whole new organ.

This tailor-made liver accomplishes two goals: It overcomes the hurdle of immunosuppressant medicines, and it makes more livers available.

A traditional organ transplant introduces foreign tissue into the body, which triggers the patient’s immune system to attack the new organ. To suppress the response, transplant patients take a cocktail of medicines for the rest of their lives. These medications are expensive and can have serious side effects. However, a liver built with the patient’s cells would end the need for immunosuppressants.

It would also help ensure that patients like Cassandra would have a liver when they needed one.

Read more about liver regeneration at Mayo Clinic.
Read more about Mayo Clinic's bioartificial liver in Discovery's Edge, Mayo's research magazine.

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March 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Regenerative Medicine Consult Service

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

Worldwide, people are increasingly interested in regenerative medicine or stem cell therapies. To meet this interest, Mayo Clinic established the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service — the first consult service of its kind in the United States.

This service provides people with educational guidance and appropriate referrals to research studies and clinical trials in stem cell therapies. Indications for a regenerative medicine consult include, but are not limited to degenerative and congenital diseases of the heart, liver, pancreas and lungs in which the patient or clinician has questions about the value of stem cell-based therapies.

Patients and health care providers are informed of existing regenerative services at Mayo Clinic and, when appropriate, patients are referred to research studies at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere.

For more information, call 844-276-2003.

To learn more about regenerative medicine and the Consult Service, watch the video below.

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March 7th, 2014 · 3 Comments

Stem Cells for Treatment of ALS at Mayo Clinic

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

Researchers in the Center for Regenerative Medicine are studying the use of intraspinal deliver of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to the cerebral spinal fluid of patients with ALS using a dose-escalation study. Learn more below:

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February 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Stem Cells 101

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

You've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you've wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease. You may wonder what stem cells are, how they're being used to treat disease and injury, and why they're the subject of such vigorous debate.

Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic's Regenerative Medicine Consult Service, answers some of the most commonly asked questions about stem cells:

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the body's raw materials. These cells have the ability to renew themselves or change to become specialized cells with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle or bone.

Where do stem cells come from?

  • Adult stem cells are found in tissues of the body, such as bone marrow. Emerging evidence suggests that adult stem cells may be more versatile than previously thought and have the ability to create other types of cells.
  • Amniotic fluid stem cells come from the liquid that surrounds a developing fetus in the amniotic sac. More study of amniotic fluid stem cells is needed to understand their potential.
  • Embryonic stem cells are a general stem cell found in embryos. Use of this type of stem cell has significantly declined due to the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells.
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells, commonly known as iPS cells, are derived from an adult stem cell that behaves like an embryonic stem cell. This new technique may help researchers avoid the controversy that comes with embryonic stem cells and prevent immune system rejection of the new stem cells.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells found in tissues such as bone marrow, blood and the fallopian tube. They can become bone, cartilage, fat and possibly other cells.

How are stem cells being used to treat diseases?

Stem cell transplants, also known as bone marrow transplants, have been performed in the United States since the late 1960s. These transplants use adult stem cells.
Thanks to new technology, researchers are exploring the use of stem cells to treat a range of conditions. For example, teams at Mayo Clinic are investigating the use of adult stem cells to delay or eliminate the need for some hip replacements.
Adult stem cells are being tested to treat degenerative diseases such as heart failure. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood have been successfully used in clinical trials to treat cancer and blood-related diseases.

What does the future hold for stem cell therapy?

The use of adult stem cells continues to be refined and improved. Researchers are discovering that these cells may be more versatile than originally thought, which means they may be able to treat a wider variety of diseases, such as diabetes; heart, liver and lung diseases; neurological and bone disorders; hand, face and other injuries; and congenital anomalies.

Watch the video below for more information:

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February 3rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Wall Street Journal Article Discusses Umbilical Cord Blood Therapies

By Jennifer Schutz

From Mayo Clinic’s HLHS News and Views Blog.

HLHSA recent article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the therapeutic potential of umbilical cord blood stem cells, including the current clinical trial being conducted at Mayo Clinic using cord blood for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The journal interviewed Tim Nelson, M.D., Ph.D, director of the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

"Umbilical cord blood is the most common type of stem cells available and is commonly discarded," says Dr. Nelson. "It is important to systematically work with regulatory agencies to validate any new application. We hope that our focused efforts will indeed lead to new applications for children with congenital heart disease."

Read the full article here.

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Mayo Clinic's Week at #WSCS13 in San Diego

January 22nd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic’s Week at #WSCS13 in San Diego

By Jason Pratt

WSCS13 sunset banner

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January 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Discovery Leads to FDA Approval for Stem Cell Trial for Heart Failure Patients

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

Cardio3 BioSciences, an international Mayo Clinic collaborator, has received FDA approval for a phase III pivotal clinical trial of its stem cell therapy. The trial will test the Mayo Clinic discovery of cardiopoietic (cardiogenically-instructed) stem cells designed to improve heart health in people suffering from heart failure. The multisite U.S. trial, called CHART-2, will aim to recruit 240 patients with chronic advanced symptomatic heart failure. Cardio3 BioSciences is a biotechnology company in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium.

"Regenerative medicine is poised to transform the way we treat patients," says Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine. Watch the video below to see how stem cells are being used to treat people with heart failure.

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January 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Lend Hope to Diabetes Treatment

By Center for Regenerative Medicine

From Mayo Clinic's Discovery's Edge magazine.

Nearly everyone knows someone with diabetes — it's hard not to. In the United States, 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children have high blood sugar, according to the National Institutes of Health.

After you eat, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream and carried throughout your body. Insulin — a hormone made by beta cells in your pancreas — then signals your cells to take up glucose, helping your body turn the food into energy.

With diabetes, this process can go wrong in two basic ways: Type 1 diabetes results from the body's failure to produce insulin; type 2 diabetes occurs when there's plenty of insulin but the cells lose their ability to perceive its signal. In both cases, cells starve.

Living well with diabetes requires a lifelong commitment to monitoring blood sugar, eating properly, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. People with type 1 diabetes must also rely on insulin replacement therapy, usually through insulin injections. People with type 2 diabetes might need oral medication.

Still, every year, diabetes kills about 70,000 people in the United States and is a contributing cause in another 160,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yasuhiro Ikeda, D.V.M., Ph.D., a molecular biologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wants to change that.

After beginning his career as a veterinary feline specialist, Dr. Ikeda had to change course when he developed an allergy to his four-legged patients that made it impossible to be in a room with them. He turned his attention toward research and discovered that his interest in molecular virology had human as well as feline applications.

The story of one Mayo Clinic patient with diabetes turned Dr. Ikeda's attention back toward healing.

Photograph of Mayo Clinic stem cell researcher Yasuhiro Ikeda, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Yasuhiro Ikeda, D.V.M., Ph.D., is spearheading stem cell research in the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine.

"He had to have his legs amputated, then went blind, then developed kidney disease," Dr. Ikeda recalls. "He couldn't walk, couldn't see, and one day he decided not to come in. He refused treatment and died a few days later. That story stays in my mind. That's why I'm here now, because this new technology may really change things."

And that's why Dr. Ikeda and his research team are screening hundreds of thousands of compounds to discover potential drugs to treat type 2 diabetes — drugs that don't lead to crashing blood sugar levels.

Dr. Ikeda — known as Ike to friends and colleagues — is also working toward developing a cure for type 1 diabetes. He plans to use gene therapy to prevent pancreatic beta cell loss in patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

"We are almost there," he says. Read the rest of this entry »

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