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CellThera and WPI advance in regeneration study
Date:3/23/2009

WORCESTER, Mass. CellThera, a biotechnology company located in Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, has received a contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to extend its research program in tissue regeneration. Under the terms of the contract, CellThera, which is part of WPI's Bioengineering Institute (BEI), and the university will continue their joint efforts aimed at restoring tissues damaged or lost due to traumatic injury.

"We are very pleased to be moving into the next phase of this work," said Raymond Page, PhD, research assistant professor in BEI and WPI's Department of Biology and Biotechnology, who serves as the principal investigator for WPI's portion of the program. "The collaboration between WPI and CellThera continues to grow and show progress. We look forward to tackling the challenges ahead."

DARPA, which serves as the research and development wing of the U.S. Defense Department, awarded CellThera a one-year $570,000 contract, with an option to extend for a second year, to fund studies aimed at regenerating mammalian muscle tissue. CellThera, in turn, subcontracted with WPI for certain elements of the research. This joint research model was established in 2006, when DARPA funded the first phase of the tissue regeneration program. In that initial phase of the research, the CellThera/WPI team, working in conjunction with colleagues at Tulane University, succeeded in reprogramming mouse and human skin cells to act more like stem cells, able to form the early structures needed to begin the process of re-growing lost tissues.

In the new phase of the program, the CellThera/WPI team will try to reprogram and engineer cells to replace damaged skeletal muscle and to restore the normal function of that muscle. Joining the effort for the new phase of this work will be George Pins, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering at WPI, who h
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Contact: Michael Cohen
mcohen@wpi.edu
508-868-4778
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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