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CCMTR Begins Collaboration With Wake Forest University Institute for Regenerative Medicine

A new partnership between North Carolina State University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center will make regenerative medical treatments more quickly available to both human and animal patients.

NC State’s Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research (CCMTR) and the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest’s Baptist Medical Center are pooling resources in order to find safe and effective ways to use cells to regenerate damaged organs in people and pets.

Dr. Jorge Piedrahita, professor of genomics at NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine and interim director of the CCMTR, believes that this partnership and the resulting joint research projects will not only benefit companion animals right away, but will also help bring these therapies to human patients more quickly.

“A major part of our work will be to translate laboratory research results into medical therapies for companion animals,” says Dr. Piedrahita says. “The ability to study diseases that affect organ health in animals is critically useful for advances in human medicine as these animals share our environment and the vast majority of our genes. Also, there are some human therapies currently in use that companion animals can benefit from right away, such as bladder tissue regeneration.”

The collaboration acknowledges the “need for and benefits of increased cooperation and communication” in research endeavors that support the technology of employing cells to regenerate organs. Basic research at the CCMTR and clinical cases at the College of Veterinary Medicine's Randall B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center (Terry Center) are involved in the agreement.

The official collaboration will include the exchange of students and faculty, exchange of academic information, development of collaborative research, as well as joint publication of medical and scientific research papers.

“We are delighted to form a partnership with our colleagues at the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research,” says Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “The goal of the collaboration is to develop advanced treatments for companion animals as well as accelerate new regenerative medicine therapies for human patients.”

According to Dr. Piedrahita, the CCMTR offers the partnership research strengths in clinical genomics, comparative neurobiology, mucosal pathophysiology, oncology, cell and molecular biology. In addition, challenging cases referred to the Terry Center present an unusual opportunity for biomedical researchers to study diseases that occur naturally in companion animals.

“Initial activity may involve research into organs such as the bladder and urethra,” says Dr. Piedrahita. “Our Terry Center clinicians are interested in regenerative developments in these areas because of the implications for health issues in cats and dogs. In return, the ability to study any number of diseases that affect organ health of Terry Center patients is critically useful for advances in human medicine as these diseases are occurring naturally in animals that share our environment and the vast majority of our genes.”

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. At the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, more than 250 scientists in the fields of biomedical and chemical engineering, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, materials science, nanotechnology, genomics, proteomics, surgery and medicine work to grow tissues and organs and develop healing cell therapies for more than 30 different areas of the body.

The Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research. Located on NC State University’s Centennial Biomedical Campus, the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research is a community of more than 100 scientists from five NC State colleges. These investigators are involved in collaborative ”One Medicine” studies with government, private, and academic researchers to advance knowledge and practical applications that improve the health of animals and humans.

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The NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine is is ranked third among the nation's 28 colleges of veterinary medicine by U.S. News and World Report. The state-of-the-art, 110,000-square-foot Randall B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center (Terry Center) is one of the nation's newest, largest, and most advanced veterinary hospitals.

Updated Dec. 12, 2011