The excitement at the 2019 Regenerative Medicine Minnesota meeting was palpable. Health care providers, scientists, educators, students, lawmakers and life sciences entrepreneurs mobilized to celebrate the BHAG—big hairy audacious goals in transforming health care. The BHAG challenge: develop new solutions and innovations that establish Minnesota as a world class leader and destination for advancing regenerative medicine into daily practice. Mayo Clinic hosted this year’s Regenerative Medicine Minnesota meeting in Rochester.
Regenerative Medicine Minnesota is a statewide bipartisan initiative aimed at revolutionizing health care from a focus on treating disease to one of tapping the body’s ability to heal itself. Regenerative Medicine Minnesota seeks to build on the synergies of education, technology and research to create this new landscape in health care.
Saranya Wyles, M.D., Ph.D., is one of many innovators who seized the BHAG challenge. Her “Mission to 2025” proposal is one of the nine Regenerative Medicine Minnesota education grant awards for 2019.
“Our goal is to provide regenerative medicine education to all medical students who train in Minnesota by 2025,” says Dr. Wyles. “We need to prepare the next-generation physician-scientists so they can safely advance the latest regenerative innovations into clinical practice. We also want them to have the fluency and resources to answer questions as patients learn about and seek regenerative care. ”
Dr. Wyles’ grant will build on the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine sponsorship and previous Regenerative Medicine Minnesota funding that provided resources to establish the first patient-centered regenerative medicine medical school curriculum. This course has trained more than 200 students to date.
“We highlight ongoing clinical trials, pre-clinical models, bench-to-bedside translation, procedural simulations, interactive patient experiences and basic science lectures,” says Dr. Wyles. “The Regenerative Medicine Minnesota grant enables us to attract and further retain medical trainees in this emerging field by providing travel awards and research scholarships for summer internships in regenerative sciences laboratories.”
The Regenerative Medicine Minnesota annual meeting is a time for all innovators to share their accomplishments and build strategic collaborations to accelerate them. Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Board Co-Chairs Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine and Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the Medical School and vice president for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota, outlined the initiative’s major achievements. In five years of this legislative initiative, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota has awarded 161 grants totaling $21.9 million of dedicated investment. Grants fund education, research and technology throughout the state.
This year’s $4.35 million in awards will fund:
"Minnesota’s investment in regenerative medicine has led to tangible advancements in regenerative sciences, translation of new knowledge and the rollout of clinical trials to offer patients hope of new, validated regenerative solutions to improve their health,” says Dr. Terzic.
"We are putting Minnesota at the forefront of introducing regenerative therapies into clinical practice," adds Dr. Tolar. "Regenerative Medicine Minnesota has taken a novel approach to reaching these goals, developing a pipeline that integrates everything from developing new therapies, to recruiting and retaining the highly trained workforce of the future needed to administer these therapies, to building the industry's capacity to produce them."
Examples of the research supported by Regenerative Medicine Minnesota grants at the University of Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic include:
Three legislators who’ve been strong advocates, namely — Rep. Tony Albright, R- Prior Lake, Sen. Richard Cohen D- St. Paul, and Senator David Senjem R-Rochester — appeared on a legislative panel at the meeting where they affirmed their support and direction of Regenerative Medicine Minnesota. With that support, the BHAG — big hairy audacious goals — may one day become reality in daily patient care.
Dr. Terzic is the Michael S. and Mary Sue Shannon Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, and Marriott Family Professor in Cardiovascular Diseases Research.
Dr. Tolar is the Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School and a Distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
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