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Wake Forest to receive $75M to aid wounded warriors

Posted on: 2:23 pm, September 27, 2013, by , updated on: 11:38pm, September 27, 2013

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine has been chosen to lead a second, more expansive, phase of research meant to help heal wounded warriors by using regenerative medicine.

The $75 million grant will be used over the next five years to research new treatments like restoring function to badly injured limbs, growing healthy skin on burn wounds, reconstruction and growth of genital and urinary organs, reconstruction of face and skill injuries by growing new tissue and new treatments for face and hand transplants.

“One of the major challenges for patients who have injuries is basically not having the right tissue to replace what you’ve lost,” said Institute Director Dr. Anthony Atala. “That’s what we are trying to do. You can put plastic in there, a device or another tissue that doesn’t belong there, but Regenerative Medicine really tries to achieve functional restoration by using the patient’s own tissue and cells.”

Atala went on to say the grant will add about 20 scientists to the center and prepare many ongoing treatments for trials in humans.

“We are humbled that we are really organizing this to make sure we can get it to wounded warriors effectively,” Atala said.

Wake Forest is leading the research that includes 30 other university medical centers nationwide.

“When warriors come back from the battlefield with serious life-changing injuries, it is our job to find new and innovative ways to help them,” said Major General Joseph Caravalho Jr., commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. “The science of Regenerative Medicine is one of the ways we fulfill our promise to service members who put themselves in harm’s way.”