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The New Era of Regenerative Medicine

Dozens of biotech companies and university labs are developing ways to replace or regenerate failed body parts. Here are a few of the projects:

BONE
Bone-growth factors or stem cells are inserted into a porous material cut to a specific shape, creating new jaws or limbs. A product that creates shinbones is in clinical trials.

COMPANIES: Creative Biomolecules, Orquest, Sulzer Orthopedics Biologics, Genetics Institute, Osiris Therapeutics, Regeneron.

SKIN
Organogenesis' Apligraf, a hu-man-skin equivalent, is the first engineered body part to win FDA approval, initially for leg ulcers. Other skins are in the works for foot ulcers and burns.

COMPANIES: Organogenesis, Ad-vanced Tissue Sciences, Integra LifeSciences, LifeCell, Ortec International.

PANCREAS
Insulin-manufacturing cells are harvested from pigs, encapsulated in membranes, and injected into the abdomen. The method has been tested in animals and could be in human trials in two years.

COMPANIES: BioHybrid Technologies, Neocrin, Circe Biomedical

SALIVA GLANDS
Proteins called aquaporins that allow cells to secrete water are used to recreate saliva glands damaged by disease or radiation. Glands are also being engineered to secrete healing drugs. The technique has proven successful in mice.

COMPANIES: None yet.

TEETH
Enamel matrix proteins are used to fill cavities. It works in dogs; human trials are a few years away.

COMPANIES: Biora, Atrix Laboratories, Creative BioMolecules.

BREAST
In preclinical studies, several companies have been able to create a cosmetic nipple by inserting a ball of cartilage. Researchers are now trying to grow a whole cosmetic breast.

COMPANIES: Reprogenesis, Integra LifeSciences.

HEART VALVES, ARTERIES, AND VEINS
A 10-year initiative to build a heart has just started. Genetically engineered proteins have been successfully used to regrow blood vessels.

COMPANIES: Organogenesis, Advanced Tissue Sciences, Genentech, LifeCell, Reprogenesis.

LIVER
A spongy membrane is built up and then seeded with liver cells. Organs the size of a dime have been grown, but a full-size liver could take 10 years due to its complexity.

COMPANIES: Advanced Tissue Sciences, Human Organ Sciences, Organogenesis.

URINARY TRACT
Cartilage cells are taken from the patient, packed into a tiny matrix, and injected into the weakened ureter, where they bulk up the tissue walls to prevent urinary backup and incontinence. The method is in late-phase clinical trials.

COMPANIES: Reprogenesis, Integra LifeSciences.

BLADDER
Doctors at Children's Hospital in Boston have grown bladders from skin cells and implanted them in sheep. They are about to try the same process on a patient.

COMPANIES: Reprogenesis.

SPINAL CORD NERVES
Scientists are in-vestigating nerve-growth factors, injecting them at the site of damage to encourage regeneration or seeding them along biodegradable filaments and implanting them. Rats have been made to walk again.

COMPANIES: Acorda, Regeneron, CytoTherapeutics, Guilford Pharmaceuticals.

CARTILAGE
A product is already on the market that regrows knee cartilage. A chest has been grown for a boy and a human ear on a mouse.

COMPANIES: Genzyme Tissue, Biomatrix, Integra LifeSciences, Advanced Tissue Sciences, ReGen Biologics, Osiris Therapeutics

DATA: BUSINESS WEEK, DRUG & MARKET DEVELOPMENT REPORTS





RELATED ITEMS

COVER IMAGE: Biotech Bodies

TABLE: The New Era of Regenerative Medicine

GRAPHIC: The New Era of Regenerative Medicine (.pdf)

TABLE: Tissue-Engineering Startups

ONLINE ORIGINAL: INVESTING IN TISSUE ENGINEERING

ONLINE ORIGINAL: A TEENAGER WITH GUTS--AND NOW A CHEST

ONLINE ORIGINAL: THE DYNAMIC DUO OF TISSUE ENGINEERING

ONLINE ORIGINAL: A BLUEPRINT FOR REBUILDING BROKEN SPINAL CORDS



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