Introducing Organogenesis and the Apligraf

Organogenesis, Inc.
Organogenesis, Inc.

As promised, we’re back with more about Regenerative Medicine. Our first profile is on Organogenesis, a company based in Canton, Massachusetts, who is at the forefront of the field. Their website states that “in the future, regenerative medicine technologies may deliver neural regeneration, islet cells for diabetes, and more substantial heart repair.” For Organogenesis, this process starts with healing chronic wounds.

Organogenesis has a product on the market called the Apligraf. The Apligraf mimics human skin to kick-start the healing process. Imagine living for years with an open wound—if you last this long without having to lose your limb that is. Organogenesis’ Apligraf can save the lives of people doing just that, it can save limbs and lives with the simple regeneration of skin cells. The new skin-like graft is created from donated foreskin from circumcision. That may sound weird, but since the Apligraf was developed it has taken twelve donated foreskins and made enough cell lines to create half a million Apligrafs. They take the foreskin cells, break them down, and then fibroblasts and keratinocytes, a bottom and top layer respectively, are used to create a remarkably skin-like bilayer graft.

This forty-four square centimeter cell culture can be applied to diabetic foot ulcers as well as venous leg ulcers, which makes it unique from any other similar product. It is designed to be applied to the patient’s wound and using the young and healthy cells in the Apligraf stimulate the body to make cells and heal itself. This revolutionizes the healing process for people with chronic wounds and can give them their lives back!

Want to know more about what else Organogenesis is doing? Stay tuned until our next post when we talk about the rest of their technology! Let us know what you think so far at @TRA360!

Organogenesis, Apligraf, Gintuit, and the Future of Rengerative Medicine

Apligraf, Organogenesis, Inc.
Apligraf, Organogenesis, Inc.

We’re back with more on Organogenesis. We figure if Organogenesis doesn’t stop at one life changing product, why should we stop at one blog about them.  Welcome back and enjoy the rest of what they have to offer.

Organogenesis also developed an oral soft tissue to replace the process of palatal grafting. For people with receding gums, the normal fix involves taking pieces of the palate and grafting them into the gum to replace the tissue. The process is just as painful as it sounds, you get two wounds for the price of one graft. Plus it usually involves multiple surgical procedures since the palate is so small. In response, Organogenesis introduced the Gintuit. The Gintuit is made of isolated living cells from human skin and grown with bovine collagen. This enables the doctor to have enough tissue to replace a large section of gum without having to cut the palate and keeps the patient from enduring multiple long and painful procedures.

In addition to these products, Organogenesis developed technology for the transportation of their products. In order to ensure the best results they, like Wendy’s, ensure their Apligraf and Gintuit are “fresh never frozen.”  Organogenesis gets their products around the world by the next day while maintaining the body’s natural temperature for optimum cell life. Even better than that, when kept at body temperature the shelf life of these products is an amazing ten days. Other like products are shipped frozen and doctors are alerted that through the process of freezing and thawing cells, some are lost. With the Apligraf and the Gintuit, freezing and thawing are not an issue so more cells remain intact for optimum results on the patient.

With two life changing products and a revolutionary way of storing the products, Organogenesis provides a new face for regenerative medicine. Providing relief to those with chronic wounds, and giving those who need a gum graft with a less painful and invasive option, Organogenesis is giving people their lives back, and providing them with the relief they have been searching for.

Check in with us again as we continue this series with other companies like Organogenesis. Know someone who would like to be featured? Have any comments on this article? Let us know here or tweet at us @TRA360!

Connecting Organs to Make Full Humans on Chips

Organ on a Chip
Organ on a Chip

Remember our blog about Dr. Geraldine Hamilton and the work done at the Wyss Institute on organs on chips? Well we’re back with new developments on that story. Less than a month ago, the Wyss sent out a press release about a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA. DARPA gave the Wyss $37 million to develop their technology.

If you missed our last blog be sure to check it out for some background, but we’ll fill you in with a little information now. The Wyss Institute is currently doing research on putting cells from different internal organs on chips the size of a normal USB drive that mimics the way the cells would live within the human body. This enables the testing of different treatments on human cells without full clinical trials, or using animal test subjects. Having the ability to more effectively determine the results on human patients without risking animal or human lives gives this project its standout quality.

The five year project being funded by DARPA grants the founder of the Wyss, Don Ingber, and his team including Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D., Geraldine Hamilton, Ph.D., Anthony Bahinski, Ph.D., and Daniel Levner, Ph.D., and other researchers, the money to essentially develop a full human outside of the body. DARPA’s $37 million dollar grant covers connecting ten of the Wyss’ organ-on-chip technologies to mimic an entire human body. They want to be able to link the physiological conditions in the body with the instruments in order to create a system of chips that mirrors the body’s response to pharmaceutical treatments. From within the chips the scientists maintain the ability to control the flow of fluid and the viability of cells while still allowing biochemical functionality.

Why is this important? If this project is successful, it will enable the acceptance of effective drugs and the rejection of ineffective ones sooner and with more accuracy than in the past, saving lives, money and time. Also, possibly most amazingly, it will provide information on the efficacy of drugs without using animal models. This can save the lives of lab creatures, a heated ethical issue, as well as more effectively show the advantageous and adverse effects in humans. The Wyss is also working closely with the FDA who has faith in the project as a better model for determining human response to pharmaceutical treatment.

Gaining this grant could save millions of lives over the course of the next five years while it is being developed, and beyond to when it is a universally implemented practice among pharmaceutical companies. Imagine the possibilities, and let us know what you think @TRA360!

Organs on Chips – New Ways to Clinically Test

Dr. Geraldine Hamilton, WYSS Institute, Harvard University
Dr. Geraldine Hamilton, WYSS Institute, Harvard University

Organ on a chip—sounds like an appetizer you would see on a menu at an upscale restaurant in the city. However, it is actually some of the most fascinating technology coming out of the Wyss Institute at Harvard. At this year’s BIO International Convention in Boston, Dr. Geraldine Hamilton spoke about her research into this field. She spoke for about forty minutes, but I managed to take three full pages of notes about her work, which I almost felt bad for taking since they took some of my focus away from her presentation. I have honestly never seen a more remarkable presenter. Her presentation topic included technology that could and should have been cluttered with scientific jargon, but not for Dr. Hamilton. She took concepts, like having an organ on a chip smaller than a fingernail for clinical testing purposes, and reduced it to something everyone in the audience, regardless of background, could understand.

Her presentation format was incredible as well. She started off with some background about the Wyss Institute, and then launched right into the problem she sought to solve. In this presentation specifically, she addressed how using animals as test subjects was not only ethically wrong, but basically ineffective as a model for clinical testing. The slides behind her had very few words beyond the titles, which I found to be great and easy to follow. She kept everyone in the audience engaged which given how specific her topic was, I consider to be a feat.

For me, the most interesting part of her presentation was the actual technology her group is producing. These organs on chips enable clinical testing to be done in a more efficient and more effective way. This could revolutionize the pharmaceutical world and provide hope for millions of patients with diseases that today are considered to be terminal. Call me a geek, but watching a cluster of cells on a chip perform like they are actually within an organ because we now have a technology that can replicate the internal conditions of a body absolutely blows my mind. I know I’ll be following the research on this project going forward, and I recommend you all to do the same.

If you saw this talk and have any comments, or even if you didn’t and just have comments, tweet at us @TRA360, or comment here!