Focus Areas

A few of the UNMC Regenerative Medicine Focus Areas: 

  1. Bone Development and Regeneration– What happens during embryonic development as our bones begin to form and how does our body regulate this to ensure appropriate tissue development?  As we understand these patterns we can begin to apply them to human therapeutic applications as a means to regenerate bone tissue after major injury or disease has destroyed the primary functional bone.
  2. Cardiovascular Regeneration- Repairing of the heart currently requires surgery by implanting donor tissue or a mechanical device, neither of which are long term alternatives. This field holds the promise of repairing damaged heart tissue with an injection of stem or  progenitor cells and of repairing specific structures, such as heart valves, with material grown outside the body.
  3. Intestinal Regeneration- Replacing sections of the bowel will provide treatments to chronic ailments of the intestine, from inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s Disease to more serious diseases that result in the death of intestinal material. Often striking children, this poses a heartbreaking challenge to physicians. If this field of research is successful, surgeons will be able to implant a new section of functioning intestine that won’t require the use of anti-rejection drugs.  Scientists and clinicians at UNMC are working together to better understand how to produce functional intestinal tissue to offer those with suffering from intestinal failure, a fighting chance.
  4. Pancreas Regeneration- Once damaged, the body’s insulin-producing cells don’t regenerate. UNMC scientists are working to make history by replacing those damaged cells with healthy tissue, thereby directly addressing one of the problems of diabetes.