Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program

The Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program within the Kogod Center on Aging researches the impact of cell and organ transplantation on the aging process.

Senescent cells accumulate with age and can cause chronic age-related conditions, including tissue damage. Adult stem cell transplantation could repair this damage using a person's own cells.

Researchers in the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program are studying a method to harvest cells from abdominal fat of adults, genetically modify those cells, and then transplant them back into the person to regenerate damaged tissue.

Focus areas

Research focus areas in the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program include:

  • Translating findings about senolytic drugs into human studies, including efforts to improve kidney function in patients with renal failure by collecting and re-implanting stem cells into diseased tissues
  • Determining why cell and organ transplantation is not as effective in older patients as it is in younger patients
  • Studying unique molecules in the blood of older adults that make them vulnerable to heart failure after a heart attack. This work has helped identify six markers that can predict poor outcomes at the time of cardiac injury and help pave the way for regenerative therapies.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of cells grown under different conditions for the treatment of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

Program leadership

Director: Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D.

Watch a video about the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program.

Transcript

Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D.

We have been dreaming, really, of being able one day to offer regenerative solutions to our patients. When I was in medical school, this was just science fiction.

We know worldwide that increasingly the population is aging. And in fact, with the aging of the population, one of the prevalent conditions is heart disease.

We're first trying to understand what we can do to indeed help the heart heal itself. We take the stem cells and we engage them to become heart-like cells. Once they reach that stage, then we inject them back into patients that have suffered from heart attack, with the notion that these already heart-like cells will be able to repair the overall failing organ.

What we'll be able to offer to patients at the end of the decade will be something that we have never offered before. And the particular excitement is that it will not be just one field of medicine to be affected, but I think across disciplines of both medicine and surgery we will see significant success: Parkinson's, heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis and so on. This truly is the frontier of medicine.