Letter from the Director
Ever since the first engineered skin tissue was transplanted in 1981, the potential of regenerative medicine has captured the imagination of physicians and scientists worldwide. Technologies for engineering tissues are developing rapidly, with the ultimate goal of delivering new therapies into patients as safely and efficiently as possible.
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has all the components in place to allow basic and clinical research to work in concert. With the goal of speeding the process of discovery, our lab is designed for collaboration — scientists in the fields of biomedical and chemical engineering, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, materials science, nanotechnology, genomics, proteomics, drug delivery, surgery and medicine work side by side. And, we have invested in a GMP (good manufacturing facility) facility — basically a biotechnology workshop — that allows us to engineer tissues and organs that meet the strict requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This environment facilitates the transfer of technologies from the laboratory to the patients who need them.
Our current research focuses on a wide range of engineered tissues with the aim of making a lasting impact on conditions ranging from diabetes to heart disease. In addition, we're working to apply the science of regenerative medicine to battlefield injuries and to help solve the shortage of donated organs available for transplant. As a result of our preliminary successes, tissue engineering and cellular therapy programs now span multiple organ systems.
We have many challenges to meet, but are optimistic about the ability of the field to have a significant impact on human health. We believe regenerative medicine promises to be one of the most pervasive influences on public health in the modern era.
Anthony Atala, MD