Ever since opening in 1945, the Texas Medical Center has made great strides in modern medicine. With 54 medicine-related institutions it is safe to say that the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world. Most recently, the TMC has been the forerunner in cancer research thanks to MD Anderson. However, our city is now one of the leading regenerative medicine pioneers.
Texas Regenerative Medicine Pioneers
Recently, The Texas Heart Institute has been stripping cells from pig hearts.They’re left with blank organ, ready to be rebuilt with stem cells. While it is easy for the Texas Heart Institute to strip the tissues of their cells, the rebuilding of the organ is the part that gives researches and doctors pause. The ultimate plan, though, is to take a decellularized organ, inject the organ with the recipient’s stem cells, and grow them a new organ that their body won’t reject. It’s an up hill battle for the Texas regenerative medicine pioneers, but they’re taking the challenge seriously.
Regenerative medicine isn’t just focused on building new organs for transplants, though. Ben Deneen, a professor at Baylor, is focused on coaxing cells in the brain to make myelin, which is often damaged when an infant suffers a loss of oxygen to the brain. When that happens, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis occurs. This form of regenerative medicine doesn’t require stem cells to be injected into the damaged organ.
Scientists at Houston Methodist’s Center for Neuroregeneration are also looking at new ways to trigger the brain to repair itself. The hope is to someday help people with severe paralysis recover the use of their hands. After strokes, or accidents rendering someone a quadriplegic, it’s the use of their hands that most want to regain.
It seems like once again, Houston has become to a ground breaking research. Only this time, it’s regenerative medicine pioneers that drives this new line of research. If they succeed, their research could save the lives of millions of people worldwide.