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Latest News and Highlights from Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine

Tue, Jul 5

Discovery’s Edge: Hope For Healing With Regenerative Medicine

By Center for Regenerative Medicine centerforregmedmc


Often perinatal fistulae resist treatment, both with medications and through treatment with a seton, a thread that is placed to promote drainage and healing. Currently standard therapies work less than half the time. Even when they do work, fistulae often return. Read the rest of the article on Discovery's Edge.

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Tags: Crohn's Disease, Discovery's Edge, Dr William Faubion, gastroenterology, mayo clinic, regenerative medicine, stem cells

Tue, Jun 28

Using Stem Cells to Try and Heal Baby Lucas’ Heart

By Center for Regenerative Medicine centerforregmedmc

Baby Lucas in the hospital bed

This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

Last July, Jennifer Gutman told Toledo, Ohio’s 13abc Action News that the day doctors diagnosed her unborn son, Lucas, with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, also known as HLHS, was “the worst day of her life.” The diagnosis came during what Jennifer and her husband, Brian, thought would be a routine 22-week ultrasound. The startling news conjured up immediate fears for Lucas’ future, and painful memories for Jennifer. “My brother was also born with HLHS,” she tells us. “He passed away as an infant.”

Determined to not let Lucas meet that same fate, Jennifer’s sister-in-law, a physician, began reaching out to colleagues for advice. This led her to Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., a physician at Mayo’s Rochester campus. Dr. Nelson is the lead researcher on a clinical trial that aims to determine whether regenerative therapies like stem cell injections can “strengthen” the right side of the heart of HLHS patients enough to “delay — or even prevent — the need for heart transplants” later in life, according to

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Tags: Dr Tim Nelson, HLHS, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, In The Loop, mayo clinic, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, regenerative medicine, research

Fri, Jun 24

Regenerative Medicine Offering New Treatment for Bronchopleural Fistulas

By Center for Regenerative Medicine centerforregmedmc

researcher examining specimen at microscope

When current treatment isn’t enough, patients at Mayo Clinic often are among the first to benefit from innovative therapies, new techniques and technologies. For the first time in human application, Mayo Clinic researchers successfully closed an open wound on the upper chest caused by postoperative complications of lung removal. The findings appear in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Called bronchopleural fistulas, these wounds are holes that lead from the large airways in the lungs to the membrane that lines the lungs. Standard surgical approaches for these fistulas induce poor health and death.

“Current management is not reliably successful,” says Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon and lead author of the paper. “After exhausting therapeutic options, and with declining health of the patient, we moved toward a new approach. The protocol and approach were based on an ongoing trial investigating this method to treat anal fistulas in Crohn’s disease.”

Stem cells were harvested from the patient’s abdominal tissue and seeded onto a bioabsorbable mesh. The mesh was surgically implanted at the site of the fistula. Follow up imaging indicated that the fistula was closed and remained healed. More than a year-and-a-half later, the patient remains asymptomatic and has been able to resume activities of daily living.

The paper describes the case of a 63-year-old female patient, who was referred to Mayo Clinic for treatment of a large bronchopleural fistula. With current therapies offering little relief, researchers turned to regenerative medicine for an innovative treatment.

“To our knowledge, this case represents the first in human report of surgically placed stem cells to repair a large, multiply recurrent bronchopleural fistula. The approach was well tolerated suggesting the potential for expanded use,” says Dr. Wigle.

While the procedure had success in this case, it is unclear the degree to which the treatment itself contributed to the healing of the fistula. The researchers urge further investigation on bronchopleural fistulas and the use of stem cells in their treatment.

Co-authors of the paper include Johnathon Aho, M.D., Allan Dietz, Ph.D., Darcie Radel, Greg Butler, Mathew Thomas, M.D., Tim Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., Brian Carlsen, M.D., Stephen Cassivi, M.D., Zachary Resch, Ph.D., and William Faubion, M.D.

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Tags: bronchopleural fistula, Dr Dennis Wigle, lung, medical research, regenerative medicine, stem cells

Wed, Jun 8

Promising Application for Stem Cells: Crohn’s Complications

By Center for Regenerative Medicine centerforregmedmc


New research at Mayo Clinic is bringing hope to hundreds of thousands of Crohn’s disease patients. Their extreme pain from complications is both physical and emotional and, for many, incurable. But, an innovation using the patient’s own stem cellsseems to work extremely well in early testing. Eventually, researchers say, it may be used to treat Crohn’s disease in general. Here’s Dennis Douda for the Mayo Clinic News Network.


Watch: Another Promising Application for Stem Cells: Crohn's Complications below


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Tags: Crohn's Disease, Dr Allan Dietz, Dr Eric Dozois, Dr William Faubion, fistula, mayo clinic, medical research, regenerative medicine, stem cells

Mon, Mar 14

Drug Combo Shuts Down Stem Cells, Tumor Growth in Lung Cancer

By Center for Regenerative Medicine centerforregmedmc

Alan Fields, Ph.D. and assistant in labResearchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus have shut down one of the most common and lethal forms of lung cancer by combining the rheumatoid arthritis drug auranofin with an experimental targeted agent.

The combination therapy worked in a laboratory study to stop lung adenocarcinoma associated with mutation of the KRAS gene. The study will be published in the March 14 issue of Cancer Cell.

“If our approach works in KRAS-mediated lung adenocarcinoma, it may work in other KRAS-mediated cancers, such as pancreaticand colon cancers, as well as other cancer types,” says the study’s senior author, Alan P. Fields, Ph.D., a cancer biologist and the Monica Flynn Jacoby Professor of Cancer Research in the Department of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Based on this and other preclinical research from Dr. Fields’ team, Mayo Clinic is conducting early-phase clinical trials to test the effectiveness of auranofin alone and in targeted combinations in patients with KRAS-mediated lung adenocarcinoma, ovarian cancer, and another common lung cancer called lung squamous cell carcinoma.

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Tags: Dr Alan Fields, Individualized Medicine, Lung Cancer, Mayo Clinic in Florida, regenerative medicine, stem cells

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