Harnessing the Power to Heal

Mayo Clinic in Florida is building two suites dedicated to delivering the latest regenerative medicine technologies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Thomas A. Gonwa, M.D., deputy director of translation for Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine, and Shane A. Shapiro, M.D., assistant professor of orthopedics, will lead regenerative medicine efforts in two dedicated patient suites in Florida.

Until recently, regenerative medicine has been relegated to the laboratory and clinical trials. Not anymore. Mayo Clinic in Florida is building two suites dedicated to delivering technologies that just a decade ago were unimaginable.

The comprehensive suites are among the first in the world designed exclusively for regenerative medicine, and they'll accommodate multiple specialties at once. For instance, prior to the new suites, regenerative medicine therapies would take place at any number of locations within the hospital — if a patient had a need for stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis in the knee, their care would be delivered within an orthopedic setting. If someone needed a regenerative skin procedure, it happened in dermatology.

"Now, all regenerative medicine therapy is consolidated, providing our multidisciplinary team of experts the valuable space they want, for the procedures that their patients need," says Thomas A. Gonwa, M.D., the Jorge and Leslie Bacardi associate director, Center for Regenerative Medicine in Florida and deputy director of translation for Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine. He adds that as we cross into this new frontier, the initial emphasis of the regenerative medicine suites will be on orthopedics and sports medicine, plastics and dermatology.

Shane A. Shapiro, M.D., assistant professor of orthopedics, will be one of the early users of the suites. His pioneering work applies regenerative medicine technologies, such as platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, to heal bone and tendon injuries, ligament sprains and arthritis. He especially likes that the suites take a holistic, whole-body approach to care — even the lighting has been specially designed for comfort.

"These therapies mobilize the body's ability to heal and repair tissue where previously it had failed to do so," says Dr. Shapiro. "Our strategies form the foundation upon which the future of cell-based therapies for orthopedic disease will be built."

Dr. Shapiro is quick to point out that these regenerative therapies are not orthopedic surgery. Rather, the new hybrid suites will form a boutique of sorts that will provide the latest therapies to patients who elect not to have, or are not candidates for, more traditional invasive procedures.

"These are therapeutic interventions that do not require the complex resources of an operating room," he says. The suites are just another step in Mayo Clinic's drive to integrate regenerative technologies into everyday patient care.

"Amazing things are happening here, with vast implications in neurodegenerative diseases, musculoskeletal conditions, heart, vascular and kidney disease," says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. "Regenerative medicine might also be a signature component to treating or curing individuals with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease."

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