The stem cell approach is the heart of regenerative medicine. In the past few years, its promise has started to become reality, with Mayo Clinic delivering regenerative treatments for osteonecrosis, tendinitis and reconstructive surgery.
The mesenchymal stem cell strategy that holds so much hope for diabetes treatment is already being tested in many other diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and heart disease.
Two assets uniquely position Mayo Clinic to focus this momentum on diabetes — the best endocrinology and diabetes program in the country (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report) and the Center for Regenerative Medicine, a catalyst in advancing new knowledge into delivery of next-generation cures.
With the growing interest in regenerative medicine research and treatment, Mayo Clinic established the Regenerative Medicine Biotrust, which will help 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 and clinical trials — 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 will give researchers and clinicians access to living cells. The approach will fast-track discovery in areas like diabetes, 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.
And as soon as an answer is found, the Regenerative Medicine Biotrust will accelerate the translation to clinical application.
"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."
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