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Anthony Atala, M.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2016
For outstanding contributions to the development of regenerative medicine and the successful translation of tissue engineering principles into clinical practice

Lab-engineered ovaries superior to hormone drugs in animal model

Via EurekAlert | December 5, 2017

New research in rats suggests the possibility of bioengineering artificial ovaries in the lab to provide a safer, more natural hormone replacement therapy for women. A team from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine found that the engineered ovaries were more effective than hormone therapy drugs at improving bone and uterine health and body composition.

“The treatment is designed to secrete hormones in a natural way based on the body’s needs, rather than the patient taking a specific dose of drugs each day,” said Emmanuel C. Opara, Ph.D., senior author and professor of regenerative medicine at the institute, which is part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Current hormone replacement medications designed to compensate for the loss of female sex hormone production are not recommended for long-term use due to the increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer.

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Opara’s co-researchers were Sivanandane Sittadjody, Ph.D, Sunyoung Joo, M.D., Ph.D., Thomas C. Register, Ph.D, James J. Yoo, M.D., Ph.D., and Anthony Atala, M.D., Wake Forest Baptist; Justin M. Saul, Ph.D., a former Wake Forest Baptist researcher now at Miami University; and John P. McQuilling, Ph.D, a former Wake Forest Baptist researcher now at Organogenesis… Continue reading.

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Scientists Develop “Body-on- a-Chip” System to Accelerate Testing of New Drugs

Via News Wise | October 5, 2017

Using the same expertise they’ve employed to build new organs for patients, scientists at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and colleagues have engineered micro hearts, lungs and livers that can potentially be used to test new drugs. By combining the micro-organs in a monitored system, the researchers aim to mimic how the human body responds to medications.

The goal of the effort, known as a “body-on-a-chip,” is to help reduce the estimated $2 billion price tag and 90 percent failure rate that pharmaceutical companies face when developing new medications. Drug compounds are currently screened in the lab using human cells and then tested in animals. But neither of these methods adequately replicates how drugs affect human organs.

“There is an urgent need for improved systems to accurately predict the effects of drugs, chemicals and biological agents on the human body,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the institute and senior researcher on the multi-institution body on a chip project, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency… Continue reading.

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On Hilton Head, the future promises a human heart built with a desktop printer

Via The Island Packet | September 27, 2017

This is a story of hope and promise.

To me, it sounds like science fiction.

But it is not. You can hear and see for yourselves at a presentation Oct. 5 at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island called “Adult Stem Cells: Medicine of the Future.”

Two world-famous doctors and researchers — Dr. Keith March of Indiana University and Dr. Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University — will tell of the medical hope and promise being engineered in laboratories today by hundreds of our brightest minds.

It’s about regenerative medicine, in which someday our bodies will be able to heal themselves by generating new tissue or even organs. Continue reading.

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