People on average are living longer than ever before. In part, this is due to medical advances that have made it possible to save more people from life-threatening diseases, injuries and congenital conditions.
But as people live longer, they're more likely to acquire chronic diseases or develop age-related conditions. Globally, there is an increasing incidence of chronic and degenerative diseases, and nearly 1 in 2 Americans has a chronic medical condition.
After the onset of most chronic diseases or injuries, the damage is there to stay — consider scarring of heart tissue from a heart attack, beta cell dysfunction in diabetes or a spinal cord injury from an accident. Symptoms can be managed, oftentimes with good success, but the underlying tissue or organ damage remains unhealed and can cause complications over time.
To develop new clinical applications that address the unmet needs of these patients, Mayo Clinic established the Center for Regenerative Medicine in 2011.
Mayo Clinic and center leaders believe that regenerative medicine, which makes it possible to actually repair diseased, injured or congenitally defective tissues and organs, will be a vital component of medical and surgical practice in the coming years. By harnessing the potential of regenerative medicine, Mayo Clinic is poised to create new models of health care and transform medicine and surgery.
A unique aspect of the Center for Regenerative Medicine is that its activities are not just laboratory based or clinic based. They're both — and everything in between. Efforts in each of the center's programs, which build on Mayo's extensive research resources and clinical practice, span the full spectrum of discovery science, translational research and clinical application.
In addition to developing regenerative medicine therapies for patients, the center is also committed to:
- Training the next generation of clinicians and scientists in the latest regenerative medicine applications
- Offering continuing education opportunities about regenerative medicine to Mayo Clinic faculty and staff
- Educating patients and the public about the promise of and latest advances in regenerative medicine
Ultimately, this comprehensive approach means that the Center for Regenerative Medicine has the ability to turn promising laboratory discoveries into proven treatments — and make them available to patients — more effectively and efficiently than most anywhere else.
The Center for Regenerative Medicine is organized into two groups — focus areas and shared services — that support its work. The focus areas conduct research and bring discoveries into patient care, while the shared services provide technical resources and expertise to ensure information is available to all medical providers and investigators.
About the Center for Regenerative Medicine
Brooks S. Edwards, M.D.
- Deputy Director
- Regenerative Medicine Application
Brooks S. Edwards, M.D.: Everything from the laboratory research end of things, the very basic science, to the clinical application, and when we think about regenerative medicine and the Center for Regenerative Medicine, we recognize that by bringing the strengths of these different groups together we get a very synergistic effect. And ultimately it gets back to the needs of the patient. So the laboratory people, the people in the translation and application areas, are all really focused on the needs of the patient.
There are many unmet patient needs. We see patients in the transplant center who may not be candidates for heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, bone marrow transplants because of one reason or another. We see patients where we hope regenerative strategies will avoid or delay or prevent the need for organ transplant and all the associated medication and immunosuppression that we see with organ transplant. So, regenerative strategies, by using the ability of the body to heal and restore, may ultimately replace some of the therapies we have today and really get a better result for the patient going forward.