U.S. hatches $265M regenerative medicine initiative

The U.S. government is creating a $265 million research initiative that will develop new stem cell technology to re-grow the skin, limbs and muscles of soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. And those advances in turn will be made available to the people burned and maimed in everyday accidents.

The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine will be made up of two multi-institutional consortia, one led by Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, and the University of Pittsburgh; and one led by Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, and the Cleveland Clinic. The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, Texas, will work with these groups to conduct trials of new therapies. The government is contributing $85 million in defense funding, with an additional $180 million from academic institutions, industry and state and federal agencies.

"Therapies developed by the AFIRM project will greatly benefit wounded warriors, as well as the civilian population with, burns or severe trauma due to illness or injury," said Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. The new institute caused at least one company--Intercytex--to boast that it was the only U.K. company to make the cut in an otherwise all-U.S. group of players. Intercytex shares were boosted by the news.

- read the press release
- check out the report in Crain's Manchester Business