"Dr. Mikos and Dr. Wong have been pioneers in the development of new tissue-engineering technologies that can be used for facial reconstruction for victims of catastrophic injury," said Dr. Peter Davies, executive vice president for research at UTHouston.
Tissue engineering is a fast-growing biomedical discipline that aims to quickly grow human tissues like bone, cartilage and skin that can be surgically transplanted without risk of rejection. Tissue engineers often use a patient's own cells as the basis for new tissue, placing them on biodegradable templates and stimulating them with chemical and physical cues.
"All of our efforts, both here in Houston and around the nation, are aimed at moving forward immediately to deliver therapies to the thousands of soldiers who have been wounded in this time of war," Mikos said.
Mikos, a founding editor of the journal Tissue Engineering and president-elect of the North American Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, is one of the world's foremost experts on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Technology investigated by the consortium partners in craniofacial reconstruction will include the use of biopolymers as matrices for tissue regeneration and the delivery of different drugs to prevent infection and promote wound healing. Additional tissue-engineering projects that employ adult stem cells to reconstruct lost appendages such as ears and noses will also be investigated.
"We are honored to be part of this consortium, which will allow us to bring to fruition many years of collaborative research with Rice University and apply novel techniques to aid the reconstruction of devastating facial defects sustained by our military personnel," Wong said.
Traditionally, it can take years for laboratory breakthroughs to be translated into clinical practice. Mikos said it is vital for engineers and doctors to
|Contact: David Ruth|