According to an August 13, 2018 UIC press release, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) researchers have received approximately $2 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop a better way to regenerate bone or tissues that have been lost to disease or injury. The UIC work will pursue the use of engineered exosomes to aid regeneration. Currently, most treatments rely on the use of growth factors or other chemical agents to stimulate stem cells, which have the ability to grow into any type of cell in the body, to regenerate what has been lost. But this approach has many limitations, including side effects and uncontrolled abnormal growths due to dosing and toxicity, which have caused complications and prevented regulatory organizations from approving the treatments for use in humans. "We need a replacement for growth factor-based interventions so that we can reduce side effects and advance these therapies to the bedside," said Dr. Sriram Ravindran, co-principal investigator of the project. "We need therapies that better mimic the body's natural processes, so the body is better able to tolerate treatment." Bone is the second most transplanted organ in the human body, after blood. Grafting and regeneration procedures are performed by health care providers to treat anything from complex bullet wounds and spinal injuries to gum disease. Dr. Ravindran, research assistant professor of oral biology, and his colleague, Dr. Praveen Gajendrareddy, jointly run a lab at the UIC College of Dentistry that develops biomimetic tools -- those that mimic natural biology -- for tissue regeneration.
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