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Tissue engineering experts discuss orthopaedics applications

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. A future in which laboratory-grown organs and stimulated growth of muscle, bones and nerves could play a major role in treating medical conditions was revealed at a recent Tissue Engineering Symposium at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

The symposium, sponsored by Wake Forest Baptist and the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, was part of the society's annual conference. Tissue engineering experts from Wake Forest Baptist, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Italy and Japan, discussed their latest work.

Tissue engineering, a term that was coined in 1986, describes the science of replacing, repairing or regenerating organs or tissue. The term is often used interchangeably with regenerative medicine.

In the field of orthopaedics, researchers described using growth factors to regenerate bone, using new technologies to enhance the healing of ligaments, efforts to produce tissue-engineered cartilage, and the possibility of use stem cells derived from muscle to improve bone healing. These advances could provide better treatments for sports injuries, cleft palate and osteoporosis, the researchers said.

"The potential in orthopaedics is not only to manage devastating congenital or traumatic problems but also to prevent or slow degenerative processes in order to maintain the activity and function of our aging population," said Gary G. Poehling, M.D., professor and chairman of othopaedics at Wake Forest Baptist.

Anthony Atala M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, said that laboratory-grown organs may one day help alleviate the shortage of donated organs for transplantation. Atala has developed bioengineered urethras, the tube through which urine is excreted from the bladder, that have been successfully implanted in humans. He has also created blood v
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
11-Apr-2005


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