Regenerative medicine raises hope

Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:43 am

By Jeff Hansel The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Even as regenerative medicine emerges as a new hope for many, doctors caution that it takes time to get a new discovery from the research lab to patient treatment.

As an example, one type of regenerative medicine, treatment of blood cancer disorders, has taken about 50 years to develop, said Mayo Clinic heart specialist Dr. Andre Terzic,director of Mayo's regenerative medicine center.

"We want to make sure that we are not creating a hype in the society but that we are really offering hope for patients, and ultimately definitive solutions," he said.

Yet it might be hard for people awaiting cures to contain their excitement.

"It has clearly gone from science fiction into rigorous science, and now from science it's going into practice," Terzic said. "It's not yet a broadly-offered servicebut it's in the phase of rigorous clinical trials."

Dr. Stephen Russell, Mayo Clinic's associate director for translation, says"we can't just take what we did in the mouse and apply it in the clinic."

"What we have to do is we have to develop a clinical protocol, we have to scale up the manufacture of the product that we're going to use, which may involve the scaled culturing of cells from a patient," he said.

Human research studies must pass muster from the Institutional Review Board at Mayo as well as from the FDA.

"That process with your foot hard on the accelerator is probably a two- to three-year process," Russell said.

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Regenerative medicine raises hope

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