Oct. 3, 2013

Partnership homes in on regenerative medicine

Jon Cheetham
Provided
Jon Cheetham, large animal surgeon and equine researcher at Cornell is part of a partnership with the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburg.

Scientists at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine are partnering with renowned human medicine innovators at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh to advance healing techniques and technologies for animals and humans.

The McGowan Institute and several College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members work on the potential of regenerative techniques – such as tissue engineering, cellular therapies and artificial organ devices – in repairing damaged tissues and organs. In the collaboration, professionals from both institutions exchange research, techniques and ideas to advance the science and application of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine across species.

“This is a natural partnership,” said Jon Cheetham, D.V.M., a large animal surgeon and equine researcher at Cornell. “We have expertise in preclinical animal models of human disease and special resources for research – like looking at laryngeal function over time in horses on a treadmill or taking MRIs of the temporomandibular joint in pigs. We also have experts in developmental biology. That’s important because aspects of regenerative medicine attempt to mimic the early stages of development, when true regeneration, not just repair, can happen.”

The research partnership has already spawned shared grant funding. For example, Cheetham and McGowan co-investigators have just received a three-year National Institutes of Health grant to explore new techniques for improving nerve repair, to heal debilitating nerve injuries in people and restore laryngeal function in people, dogs and horses.

Cornell and McGowan scientists also work together to use regeneration techniques in the meniscus, a jaw joint in which tears can affect chewing and speech.

In August, Stephen Badylak, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.D., deputy director of the McGowan Institute, was the keynote speaker at Cornell’s daylong 10th Annual Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Symposium, explaining to an audience of about 90 students and researchers the science behind his groundbreaking advances in regenerative medicine. Other collaborative activities since 2011, when the partnership began, have included retreats, educational exchanges, continuing education and other research partnerships.

Carly Hodes ’10, MBA ’15, is a communications specialist at the College of Veterinary Medicine.