The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Specialized Therapies has forged a partnership to expedite the development and the clinical assessment of several McGowan Institute innovations detailed below.
The Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Specialized Therapies (Instituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione, or ISMETT) is an international center for specialized medicine serving the people of the Mediterranean region. Located in Palermo, the capital of the Italian island of Sicily, ISMETT was founded as a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Cervello and Civico hospitals in Palermo, and the Sicilian regional government.
The new ISMETT facility in Palermo was dedicated in early 2004. The five-level, 130,000 square-feet facility is located next to the Civico Hospital's cardiac surgery division. The center features four operating rooms, 70 beds, and all the clinical, laboratory, and support services.
ISMETT brings to the people of Sicily and southern Italy previously unavailable specialized medical procedures. In addition, the organizers expect ISMETT to become a major referral center for other Mediterranean countries, such as Egypt, with which the center has already established a telemedicine consulting service. Visit ISMETT's website for additional information.
The McGowan/ISMETT partnership is based on the pioneering studies of Jörg Gerlach, M.D., Ph.D., of the McGowan Institute and the clinical pioneers at ISMETT headed by Bruno Gridelli, M.D., ISMETT Medical and Scientific Director. The technologies that have been developed by the Gerlach Lab focus on building bioreactors that combine synthetic components with human cells to scale-up cell availability and create support for cell transplantation therapies. This approach offers new opportunities for the clinical translation of tissue engineering and stem cell biology by providing specialized tools that significantly enhance cell based therapies. For additional details on the Gerlach Bioreactor Group, click here.
The aspect of the McGowan Institute/ISMETT partnership will initially focus on the use of the Gerlach Lab bioreactor technologies to provide an extracorporeal liver support system. Future collaboration is likely to include studies addressing regeneration of other organs based on cellular therapies and advanced bioreactor technologies.
In another ISMETT program we will be creating two leading cell-therapy clinical programs. In the first we will explore the clinical implementation of stem cell therapy for heart failure. In the second, through a partnership with Dr. Camillo Riccordi (University of Miami) we will be offering patients the option of pancreatic cell transplantation.
The McGowan Institute continues to believe that accelerating the progress of regenerative medicine toward a routine therapeutic option requires clinical implementation of our technologies and partnering with the best clinical regenerative medicine specialists around the world. The ISMETT-McGowan partnership is the latest demonstration that the global reach of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) allows us to remain at the cutting edge of the discipline.