WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center today announced a $250,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support the construction of a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility where engineered organs and tissues will be built. The lead gift will support the construction and equipping of the GMP facility to ensure its compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.
One of the first uses of the GMP facility will be to apply regenerative medicine technologies to wounded soldiers. The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to co-lead the new Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a multi-institutional consortium of research centers. The group’s goal is to create tissues for burns and other wounds, craniofacial reconstruction and limb reconstruction that will aid soldiers’ rehabilitation.
“Bank of America is proud to support a cutting-edge endeavor that will benefit the emerging issue affecting wounded warriors in need of assistance,” said Dale Hall, Triad president, Bank of America. “The GMP facility will enhance economic development in the Piedmont Triad region by helping to advance the work of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which is considered an integral factor in drawing private sector business to Piedmont Triad Research Park."
The GMP facility will require the addition of skilled personnel such as laboratory technicians, equipment maintenance specialists and quality control experts. In its first year, five full-time employees will be required to operate the new facility. As the work advances, and more tissues become ready for clinical development, more personnel will be added.
“We are thrilled that the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has made this significant grant to the GMP facility, which will allow us to more quickly translate our research into therapies to help patients,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., institute director.
Regenerative medicine is a science devoted to building new tissues and organs in the laboratory to replace those damaged by disease or injury. The GMP facility serves as a biomedical workshop for engineering tissues and organs under FDA guidelines designed to ensure quality and consistency of products.
Once technologies developed in the laboratory are ready to be evaluated in patients, they will be engineered in the GMP facility then distributed to hospitals across the country through the FDA-monitored clinical trial process.
Scheduled to open in 2008, the GMP facility will be located in the Richard Dean Biomedical Research Building in Piedmont Triad Research Park (PTRP) in downtown Winston-Salem. PTRP promotes academic, industry and government partnerships to grow and sustain an economy based on core science in areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
WFIRM is a world leader in applying regenerative medicine therapies to patients. Atala’s research group was the first in the world to successfully implant laboratory-engineered organs into humans.
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About the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (www.wfirm.org) is an established center dedicated to the discovery, development and clinical translation of regenerative medicine technologies by leading faculty. The institute has used biomaterials alone, cell therapies, and engineered tissues and organs for the treatment of patients with injury or disease. The Institute is based at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (www.wfubmc.edu), an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine, and Wake Forest University Physicians. The system is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.
About Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy
Building on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, Bank of America will embark in 2009 on a new, ten-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave more than $200 million in 2007, making the bank the most generous financial institution in the world and the second largest donor of all U.S. corporations in cash contributions. Bank of America approaches giving through a national strategy called "neighborhood excellence" under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Through Team Bank of America, bank associate volunteers contributed more than 650,000 hours in 2007 to enhance the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/foundation.