South Texas Blood & Tissue Center forms GenCure, a regenerative medicine arm targeting patient healthcare and research on a global level
SAN ANTONIO (August 10, 2011) — South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) Interim President and Chief Operating Officer Mary Beth Fisk today announced the formation of GenCure, a new arm of STBTC to focus on a coalescence of providing cell and tissue services for regenerative medicine, including patient treatment and clinical research on a global basis.
“We see wonderful, new opportunities in regenerative medicine,” said Fisk. “This new focus with GenCure will help us position ourselves to take advantage of the solid reputation we’ve built through our work with the tissue and cellular therapy program and give us a strong launch in the regenerative medicine field.”
GenCure encompasses the bone marrow donor registration, tissue services, peripheral blood and cord blood cellular therapy programs. STBTC is pleased to continue its life saving mission and explore new opportunities in the future with regenerative medicine nationally and internationally.
GenCure advisors include internationally known researchers
GenCure advisors include experts from the University of Pittsburgh, University of Illinois, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, University of South Florida College of Medicine (Department of Neuro Surgery & Brain Repair), University of Illinois and Georgia Tech (Institute of Bioengineering and Bio Science.)
Dr. Stephen Badylak, professor, Department of Surgery, and deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, is one of GenCure’s most supportive advisors. His major research interests include various tissue engineering and regenerative medicine issues and he holds more than 50 U.S. patents, 200 patents worldwide and serves on a variety of prestigious national and international health, science, tissue and bioengineering boards and societies. He is also the associate editor for Tissue Engineering for the journal Cells, Tissues, Organs.
Most recently, Dr. Badylak has been in the news for his work with U.S. Marine Corporal Isaias Hernandez who has been recovering at Fort Sam Houston from a devasting wound he received while serving in Afghanistan. Dr. Badylak and colleagues offered Corporal Hernandez an alternative to amputation: regrow the muscle. Using an extracellular matrix xenograft based on pig tissue, Dr. Badylak was able to encourage the regeneration of muscle, tendons, and blood vessels in the soldier’s leg.
“We are very excited about the opportunities in patient care and clinical research for regenerative medicine like Dr. Badylak’s work,” said Fisk. GenCure will provide an opportunity to take advantage of new technologies and state of the art processing and testing methods based on our existing foundation in tissue and cell work and move into this wonderful new field – providing growth opportunity and establishing STBTC as a major player in regenerative medicine.”
“In addition to these services on a regional and national level, we have ongoing research collaborations with Scripps Research Institute, the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI), Cytonet, University of Texas Health Science Center, University of Illinois and Lonza Walkersville, Inc.,” said Fisk. “And, we are already working with partners internationally and see promising potential particularly in Asia, Europe, and South America.”
GenCure services are accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks, American Association of Tissue Banks, the International Organization of Standardization, and where applicable, states requiring HCT state licensure and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Cord Blood Stem Cells reaching out to 20 countries
The center is nationally recognized as one of only a few public cord blood banks in the nation selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to store cord blood for the National Cord Blood Inventory. The bank has been invited to pilot new programs involving the collection of cord blood.
This program already has more than one third of the 25,000 cord blood units set as a goal to assure an adequate supply to meet the ethnic diversity of the patients needing transplants. There are now 8,700 cord blood units available for transplant and there have been 100 such transplants completed. This life saving effort has had more than 300 confirmatory typing requests from 20 different countries.
The program is also engaged in research studies looking at optimization and enhancement of cord blood collection and cell viability relating to effects of time from collection to processing.
Tissue Bank collaborates to develop, design and manufacture allografts for surgery
Also under the GenCure umbrella, the only full service tissue bank operating in the state of Texas, will continue to provide tissue recovery, processing, and manufacturing of tissue allografts for hospitals and clinics.
In a project which has the potential for a more global marketing focus, GenCure currently has a collaborative relationship to develop, design and manufacture OsteoFacet Wedge allografts for use in spinal surgery.
National Marrow Donor Program
In collaboration with the National Marrow Donor Program GenCure’s Peripheral Blood Stem Cell/Marrow center coordinates donor registration, marrow donation and search activities providing donor suitability, management, collection and processing of peripheral blood stem cells from adult donors.