U.S. military to take the lead in tissue regeneration research

The Defense Department in the United States says $250 million has been pledged for research into dealing with soldiers returning from the war zones with multiple traumatic injuries.

The money will go towards therapies for burn repair, wound healing without scarring, facial reconstruction and limb reconstruction or regeneration.

Teams of scientists from top U.S. universities have a 5 year goal to address the unprecedented challenge of dealing with troops who have survived horrific injuries such as amputations, burns, spinal cord injuries and vision loss.

The new Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) is made up of two teams; the first is led by Wake Forest University in North Carolina and the University of Pittsburgh and the second led by Rutgers University in New Jersey and the Cleveland Clinic.

It is estimated that over 900 people have returned from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq with such injuries and it is hoped the therapies could help badly injured troops within just a few years.

The scientists involved say such work has already been done on animals but clinical trials on people have not begun.

Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker says stem cells from injured soldiers could be used to grow more cells that are then painted on a scaffold in the shape of his ears and nose.

Schoomaker says after an incubation period of weeks, the biodegradable scaffold would be implanted on the skin and absorbed, ultimately becoming fully functional.

A dramatic increase in blast trauma has been seen in troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly as a result of roadside bombs and suicide bombs and it has only been because of advanced medical technology that many have remained alive.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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