Regenerative Medicine is an Established Priority at Mayo Clinic
Five years is a short amount of time to expect results from a new strategic initiative at a complex organization. But early results were evident at the Mayo Clinic Symposium on Regenerative Medicine and Surgery.
Mayo Clinic experts in regenerative medicine highlighted advancements in cancer care, cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions and musculoskeletal regeneration. More than 60 presenters from Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University shared results ranging from preliminary research to advanced discoveries in tissue engineering, cell-based therapies and cell-free therapies. The agenda included technical presentations that showed the expansive number of regenerative therapies being researched, translated and applied to patient care. The Symposium was moderated by the Center for Regenerative Medicine deputy director of education Richard Hayden, M.D.
More than cell-based therapies, regenerative medicine means to replace, engineer or regenerate cells, tissues or organs in order to restore or establish normal function. Regenerative therapies aim to amplify the body’s ability to heal itself, providing overall better health and quality of life.
Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Regenerative Medicine Foundation said in his keynote address that Mayo Clinic represents where the rubber meets the road as a large medical practice and the research that is going to impact the human population.
“Mayo Clinic has the credibility, the numbers, and the prestige to be the game changer.” says Siegel. “Mayo Clinic is going to be the institution that the world looks to as you incorporate these potentially curative technologies into the day-to-day medical practice.”
David Lott, M.D., Mayo Clinic laryngeal surgeon, discusses his research live at the Mayo Clinic Symposium on Regenerative Medicine and Surgery:
Support for Complex Tasks
Dennis Gastineau, M.D., hematologist and director of the Nyberg Human Cellular Therapy Laboratory in Arizona described the HCTL as one of the key platforms that has expanded and matured enterprise-wide. In addition to the Mayo Clinic initiated trials, the cell pharmacy is supporting 18 active protocols and an additional 25 trials are in the development stage.
“Mayo is developing a set of platforms and expertise with the idea that it is the needs of the patients we are serving,” says Dr. Gastineau. “But we also have the science. That is the advantage, and it is tremendous in that respect.”
Three platforms have emerged to accelerate the development of regenerative medicine based applications at Mayo Clinic: the Biotrust, the Biomaterials and Biomolecules Facility, and the Advanced Product Incubator. In a panel discussion, the platform directors talked about the ability to move products between the facilities during development.
Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., thoracic surgeon and deputy director for the Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust says the vision has always been to function as a network hub within Mayo Clinic.
“One of the goals is to be an accelerator in the development of regenerative medicine applications and to be a connector of people, ideas, and processes,” Dr. Wigle says. “Rather than being a single person in an isolated lab struggling through how to adopt some of these technologies, investigators are able to leverage the know-how and the infrastructure of the institution.”
Co-directors for the Biomaterials and Biomolecules Facility, neurologist Anthony Windebank, M.D. and orthopedic surgeon Michael Yaszemski, M.D., Ph.D., discussed the value of being involved as physicians on small phase I clinical trials to establish patient safety.
“The idea of being able to make a biomaterial based device in-house and move forward to in-person and in-clinic use is clearly very important,” says Dr. Windebank. “As we get closer to making more complex devices it will be possible to work with one or two or even three platforms with an integrated oversight of our Good Manufacturing Practice facilities.”
Atta Behfar, M.D., Ph.D , director of the Advanced Product Incubator says to think about working with the platforms for phase I trials with an eye towards phase II and III development.
“At this point, our target is getting the safety studies established and accomplished at Mayo Clinic.” says Dr. Behfar. “The long term aim is to build up the systems for later phase trials in partnership with industry.”
From the clinical perspective, orthopedic physician Shane Shapiro, M.D. said the real benefit is being able to work with experts like Dr. Behfar on potential products for the practice.
“It allows us to develop these products together,” says Dr. Shapiro. “When we demonstrate what our problem is on a foundational level, we can advance the practice and advance the use of the products to the patients who need them.”
Dr. Shapiro live from the Mayo Clinic Symposium on Regenerative Medicine and Surgery: