Worcester Polytechnic Institute, CellThera collaborate on work aimed at regenerating limbs

Worcester, Mass. June 30, 2006 Worcester Polytechnic Institute today announced that it has signed an agreement with CellThera Inc., a Worcester-based biotechnology start-up firm, to conduct joint research aimed at developing techniques for restoring tissue--including digits and limbs--damaged or lost due to traumatic injury.

As part of the agreement, two principals in CellThera, Tanja Dominko, president and chief scientific officer, and senior scientist Raymond Page, will hold research faculty appointments in WPI's Biology and Biotechnology Department and the WPI Bioengineering Institute (BEI). The research will be conducted in laboratories on the WPI campus and, beginning next spring, in the new WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park. WPI faculty members with expertise in tissue engineering, wound healing, stem cells, and related fields are expected to be involved in the project.

CellThera is a collaborator on a multi-institution research program funded by a one-year, $3.9 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. Tulane University, where work will be conducted by a team led by Ken Muneoka, professor of cell and molecular biology, is the lead institution for the program. Other collaborators include scientists at the University of California-Irvine and a researcher at the University of Louisville. The multi-center study is one of only two projects in the country funded by DARPA aimed at advancing the field of tissue restoration.

"Combining WPI's resources and academic approach to basic research with CellThera's performance-driven research milestones will accelerate the translation of research results into medical products," Dominko noted.

"This is an exciting opportunity to combine the resources and expertise of CellThera with the extensive experience and talents of the WPI faculty," sai

Contact: Michael Dorsey
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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