April 2008, Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) gave $42.5 million over five years to Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Wake Forest and its partners are adding $150 million for nearly $200 million. A second consortium with another $42.5 million will be managed by Rutgers and the Cleveland Clinic.
Nature discusses the full soldier regenerative medicine program
– Hands have been successfully transplanted (37 times), but there have been side effects from the immune suppression drugs. Researchers are developing ways to suppress the immune response with less drugs and fewer side effects, this will allow transplants of hands and other organs
– there is progress to growing the bones, tendons and muscles and other tissues of grown fingers from the patients own cells.
– Lab grown bladders were successfully implanted in 2006
– there are promising approaches for growing bone with its own blood supply, cellular matrix for eye lens and eye repairs, stem cells from amniotic fluid and placentas for a possibly limitless supply of stem cells for reconstructive procedures, heart patch tissues, esophagus repair, blood vessels, kidneys and more
– from the recent Convergence08, for about $7500 someone can get their bone marrow stimulated to generate more stem cells which can then be harvested for a personal supply of adult stem cells. It is better to have your own personal stem cell supply from a younger age as those stem cells will be in better condition
Separate from Wake Forest, doctors in Spain got a trachea from an organ donor and stripped the donated trachea of cells that would have been rejected when transplanted into another person. The doctors took adult stem cells and some other cells from the healthy right airway of the woman needing the trachea transplant, grafted those cells onto the stripped-down donated trachea, and marinated the trachea in chemicals in a lab to coax the trachea into rebuilding itself. When the trachea was ready, the doctors implanted it into the patient. The procedure worked, and since the trachea had been prepped by the patient’s own stem cells before transplantation, her body accepted it without immune-suppressing drugs.