What is regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine presents the possibility of a revolutionary way of delivering medicine. It’s the process of creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to age, disease, damage or congenital defects. It includes the injection of stem cells or progenitor cells (also known as cell-based therapies), the induction of regeneration by biologically active molecules, and transplantation of laboratory-grown organs and tissues. It has the potential to solve the problem of organ transplant rejection, organ transplant wait, and irreparable damage. The field of regenerative medicine overlaps with tissue engineering, however it focuses on how the body can use cells, biomolecules and supporting structures to heal tissue. In the immediate term, there are limited products on the market primarily focused on skin, cartilage and bone substitutes.
The complicated nature of regenerative medicine requires that its reach is broad and multidisciplinary in nature with the potential to involve all colleges in the Office of Health Sciences. For example, Tissue Nano-Transfection (TNT), a new nanotechnology with applications in regenerative medicine, was developed through collaborative research between College of Engineering and College of Medicine faculty with the intent to control tissue plasticity, in the living body, without the need for viral vectors. Dr. Gallego-Perez, a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, published findings that focus on how TNT can modulate lineage conversions in skin tissue and ways to develop effective strategies to control the plasticity of surgically accessible tissues for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Gallego-Perez plans to use these funds to strengthen ongoing collaborations with colleagues at Ohio State, including Dr. Stephen Kolb (Neurology), and Dr. Ian Valerio (Plastic Surgery), with the overall aim of developing novel therapeutic approaches to treat nerve tissue deficiencies at both central and peripheral nervous system levels. NIH Grant Number DP2 EB028110
The recognition of regenerative medicine’s potential is not lost in the academic, government or industry sectors as there has been a flurry of activity in the field in recent years. At this point, research and development represents the most activity in this sector however the field does possess opportunities for immediate product development. While National Institutes of Health funding for regenerative medicine has been growing, a big government investor in this field is the Department of Defense. Furthermore, recognizing the potential financial returns, private industry may represent the most significant portion of this growing field.
Regenerative Medicine at Ohio State
That doesn’t mean we aren’t making progress in this innovative space at Ohio State. The Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) has some of the best scientists and world-renowned physicians tackling devastating problems and creating innovative solutions related to medicine, and specifically, regenerative medicine. It strives to support all phases of university technology commercialization and start-up development at Ohio State by turning inventions, ideas, technologies and research into business opportunities and products that make an impact on the world. Learn more about the Technology Commercialization Office.