Navigation Links
Pitt researchers net $5 million from NIH to explore better ways to grow cells

PITTSBURGHRegenerative medicine researchers at the University of Pittsburgh received two grants totaling more than $5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore new methods for cultivating replacement cells from existing tissues and organs.

A $2.9 million, five-year Transformative R01 (T-R01) grant presented to Eric Lagasse, a professor of pathology in Pitt's School of Medicine and a researcher in Pitt and UPMC's jointly operated McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will support the development of a novel concept: using the body's many lymph nodes as sites for growing replacement cells for other tissues and organs, in essence using them as bioreactors to grow cells within the living body. Ipsita Banerjee, a professor of chemical and petroleum engineering in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering and a McGowan faculty member, received a $2.2 million, five-year New Innovator award to unravel how embryonic stem cells develop into mature cells and possible techniques for influencing their growth to suit specific organs.

The grants were presented as part of the 2009 NIH Director's High-Risk Research Awards, a cluster of five-year grants presented to researchers exploring ideas with the potential to advance their fields and medical treatment. On Sept. 24, the NIH announced 115 awards totaling $348 million, including 42 T-R01 Awards, 18 Pioneer Awards, and 55 New Innovator Awards for early-stage investigators. This marks the inaugural year for the T-R01 grantswhich support innovative and high-risk projects that could profoundly impact biomedical research and medical treatmentand also is a record year for the number of New Innovator and Pioneer Awards bestowed. Fellow New Innovator and T-R01 recipients include researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, Columbia University, Duke University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Lagasse's work focuses on lymph nodes, which are important in responses to bacterial and viral infection and are found throughout the body. Even spread out, the total mass of the nodes makes them a feasible place to grow liver cells, for example, which must also be available in abundance and with ample blood flow to provide life-sustaining hepatic function, Lagasse said. His team will explore growing liver and other tissues in such "ectopic" sites, meaning outside of where it would normally reside. The same principle of using lymph nodes as a site for ectopic cell factories might work for replacing pancreas cells that make insulin for patients with diabetes or immune system T-cells for patients who have AIDS and other diseases of immunologic-impairment.

"Our regenerative medicine approach for healing damaged tissues and organs might not have moved forward without this new grant concept," Lagasse noted. "This funding supports assessment and rapid translation from the bench to the bedside of nontraditional treatments."

Banerjee will investigate the process through which embryonic stem cells become mature, organ-specific cells and how scientists can control that development. Using a bottom-up approach, Banerjee will cultivate stem cells into pancreatic cells, noting molecular-level information that could be integrated into dictating cell development, such as the influence of environmental factors and gene and protein networks.

"I want to take a completely different approach to addressing the complex process of cell development, which will potentially advance our understanding of regenerative medicine and stem cell bioengineering as a whole," Banerjee said.

Two Pitt researchers have received NIH Director's awards in the past. In 2007, Eva Szigethy, of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and an assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Pitt, received a New Innovators grant to use inflammatory bowel disease as a model for investigating the interactions between the brain, gut, and immune system in determining how adolescents cope with chronic illness.

The following year, Barry London, a Pitt professor of medicine, was presented with a Pioneer Award to develop new techniques to image electrical activity of the heart and identify those at risk of sudden cardiac death.


Contact: Morgan Kelly
University of Pittsburgh

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify new brain pathway for regulating weight and bone mass
2. LSUHSC researchers working to prevent diabetic neuropathy
3. Nanoresearchers challenge dogma in protein transportation in cells
4. MDC researchers discover molecule responsible for axonal branching
5. Cybernetwork to help K-State researchers study tallgrass prairie, respond to global warming
6. Researchers prolong the half-life of biopharmaceutical proteins
7. WCMC-Q researchers unlock genetic secrets of date palm
8. Weeding out marijuana: Researchers close in on engineering recognizable, drug-free Cannabis plant
9. Dartmouth researchers get personal with genetics
10. Ecosystem researchers to hold science briefing for policymakers
11. UAB researchers looking for genetic predictors for suicide
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) ... Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the ... and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has ... --> --> Synthetic biology ... potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Rubicon Genomics, Inc., today announced an ... its DNA library preparation products, including the ThruPLEX ... Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq has been optimized for ... libraries for liquid biopsies--the analysis of cell-free circulating ... in cancer and other conditions. Eurofins Scientific is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... OXFORD, Connecticut , October 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ... Wocket® smart wallet announces that StackCommerce, a leading ... will be featuring the Wocket® smart wallet on ... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A long-standing partnership between the ... has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. , AMA ... Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at AMA ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... microbial genomics company uBiome, were featured on AngelList early in their initial angel ... launching an AngelList syndicate for individuals looking to make early stage investments in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today ... following conference, and invited investors to participate via webcast. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also ... Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study ...
Breaking Biology Technology: