Regenerative Medicine Consult Service
Timothy J. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.: So the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service has been started at Mayo Clinic in the transplant center. This service allows us to contact and interact with patients that may have questions about regenerative medicine and specifically: "Do stem cells, are stem cells being applied to my condition or my disease?"
For example, some patients ask questions: "I have heart disease and I am not a transplant candidate, but what about stem cells? Is somebody doing research or applying stem cells to give therapy that way?" And we work with these patients individually to understand exactly what their needs are, what their questions are, and we try to align patients with potential research studies that may be going on to help them participate in the research that's necessary to advance these technologies towards the clinic.
One of the unique things of the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service is that we get to interact with many patients, some of which we've never thought of ourselves, and their specific diseases or specific questions that do come up that provoke us to think about what can we do to understand this disease better? How can we apply regenerative medicine strategies to understand it? And ultimately what is it going to take to develop a new, novel therapy that we may be able to offer to our patients? All of these questions start with our ability to really interact with the patients and understand the unmet needs of our patients before we even go into the research lab.
Patients at Mayo Clinic are becoming increasingly interested in whether there are any regenerative medicine applications suitable for their conditions. To meet this interest, the Regenerative Medicine Consult Service was launched within Mayo Clinic William J. von Liebig Transplant Center in 2011.
Clinicians at Mayo Clinic and other health care organizations are able to refer patients to the service, which provides guidance on whether a stem cell clinical trial is an appropriate experimental protocol for a particular patient.
Indications for a regenerative medicine consult include degenerative and congenital diseases of the heart, liver, pancreas and lungs in which the patient or clinician has questions about the value of stem cell-based therapies. When appropriate, patients are referred to research studies at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere that are actively recruiting participants.
Timothy J. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-scientist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., whose research focuses on regenerative medicine, oversees the service.
For more information, call 800-422-6296.
Simple hip decompression
Osteonecrosis of the hip is a disease in which blood supply to the hip is disrupted, causing the death of bone cells in the hip. In advanced stages, the disease can lead to debilitating pain, destruction of the hip joint and loss of mobility. At this point, hip replacement may be required.
Teams composed of bone specialists, biologists and engineers at Mayo Clinic are investigating the potential of a new regenerative technique — simple hip decompression — for patients with early stages of the disease.
Today, early-stage osteonecrosis of the hip is commonly treated with core decompression, an inpatient, invasive procedure in which a surgeon drills into the hipbone to remove dead areas of bone.
In contrast, simple hip decompression is a less invasive outpatient procedure in which a surgeon makes a small hole outside the hip and taps into the diseased area. A mixture of blood and progenitor cells taken from the patient's bone marrow is then delivered into the hipbone to restore function.
Mayo Clinic physicians and researchers are continuing to refine this procedure. In the future, simple hip decompression may give clinicians an effective way to regenerate diseased hip tissue, delaying or eliminating the need for hip replacement in people with osteonecrosis of the hip.
For more information, visit the Young Hip Clinic website or call 507-284-9217.
Transplant medicine laid much of the groundwork for the field of regenerative medicine. Today, transplantation (replacement) is one of the three approaches being studied and applied by the Center for Regenerative Medicine to restore tissue and organ function.
At Mayo Clinic, solid-organ and other types of transplants take place through Mayo Clinic William J. von Liebig Transplant Center, one of the country's largest transplant programs. In total, Mayo's campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota perform about 1,000 transplants each year.
Read more about transplant programs at Mayo Clinic.