Advancing the Science

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June 29, 2020

Research grants aim to advance regenerative medicine toward the practice

By Susan Buckles
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Reprogramming human cells to correct blood disorders such as sickle cell disease, activation of a regenerative pathway to treat liver failure and strategies for skeletal regeneration in patients with brittle bone disease are examples of Mayo Clinic research to be funded through new grants from Regenerative Medicine Minnesota. 

Regenerative Medicine Minnesota, a statewide bipartisan initiative, seeks to advance regenerative science and build the health care of the future. Regenerative Medicine Minnesota awards $4.35 million in grants every year with emphasis on innovation across the regenerative medicine spectrum. The initiative seeks to transform the focus of medicine from treating disease to building health in order to provide Minnesotans with safe new options for their health care. Since its inception in 2014, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota has awarded more than 170 grants totaling $26 million.

In the latest funding cycle, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota awarded seven discovery and translational science awards to Mayo Clinic researchers.


Discovery Science Awards:

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Patricia Devaux,
Ph.D.

Patricia Devaux, Ph.D., $249,998 for Concurrent Gene Editing and Reprogramming of Sickle Cell Disease Fibroblasts using Dual Measles Virus Vectors

This research will test a new technology based on the vaccine strain of the measles virus to determine if it can reprogram human cells to correct genetic defects that lead to blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.

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David Deyle, M.D.

David  Deyle, M.D., $250,000 for Treating Osteogenesis Imperfecta by Inhibiting the PRC2 Complex
The goal of this research is to develop new ways of increasing bone formation for osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, using small molecules to inhibit the epigenetic regulator, PCR2.

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Dan Dragomir-Daescu, Ph.D.

Dan  Dragomir-Daescu, Ph.D., $249,112 for Novel Flow Diverter for Hemorrhage Control Using Innovative Magnetic Nanotechnology

The study team will test in pig models the use of novel magnetic technologies, including vascular stent-grafts and bioengineered endothelial cells (cells that line the blood vessels), to see if they can be used together to control hemorrhage and rapidly heal vessels.”

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Martin Rodriguez-Porcel, M.D.

Martin Rodriguez-Porcel, M.D., $250,000 for Understanding the Interaction of Stem Cells and Scaffolds with Host Tissue: Implications of Regenerative Medicine

This study aims to develop a better understanding of the interaction between transplanted stem cells and human tissue.  Specifically, this research seeks to answer whether delivery of biomatrix containing certain chemicals can help transplanted stem cells survive and function in the human body.

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Rory Smoot, M.D.

Rory Smoot, M.D., $250,000 for Activating the Hipp Pathway Effector YAP to Augment Liver Regeneration

The goal of this research is to improve liver function in patients with liver failure. The research team will test whether a specific drug treatment can activate a regenerative pathway and speed liver regeneration.


Translational Science Awards:

Terry Burns, M.D., Ph.D., $250,000 for Human Glial Progrenitor Cells for Radiation-Induced Brain Injury

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Terry Burns, M.D., Ph.D.

This study seeks new solutions for memory and functional impairment caused by radiation to kill brain tumors. Researchers will test in brain models the safety of transplanted stem cells capable of replacing myelin.  Myelin is a substance that coats and protects nerves and improves neurological function.

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Steven Moran, M.D.

Steven Moran, M.D., $250,000 for Regenerative Strategy for Volumetric Muscle Loss and Functional Recovery

This study seeks new regenerative therapeutics for restoring muscle volume and muscle function after traumatic injury or surgery.

Regenerative Medicine Minnesota awarded 13 grants statewide out of 64 applicants in 2020 to advance clinical trials, discovery science, translational science and biobusiness. Funding awarded in 2020 will run through 2022. Regenerative Medicine Minnesota grants are open to all Minnesota-based institutions.

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Tags: Awards, clinical trials, Dan Dragomir-Daescu, David Deyle, epigenetics, liver disease, Martin Rodriguez-Porcel, measles virus, nanomedicine, News, Patricia Devaux, People, radiation therapy, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota, Rory Smoot, sickle cell disease, stem cells, Steven Moran, Terry Burns

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