Sen. Krawiec Visits Lab Developing Cutting-Edge Cell and Tissue Therapies, Replacement Organs

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Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) recently visited with doctors and researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), which is leading the world in developing cutting-edge cell and tissue therapies and replacement organs.

It is the first institution to create human organs in its laboratory that have been successfully implanted in patients.

Dr. Anthony Atala leads a 400-person team at WFIRM. He has been recognized for his success in engineering stem cell therapies for the most complex organ systems. His work caught the eye of TIME Magazine and was named one of the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of the Year in 2007.

WFIRM is embarking on applying regenerative medicine efforts for those who have suffered wounds while serving our country in the military, including facial reconstruction and healing third-degree burns. Its work is backed by a $75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health.

“Dr. Atala and his team at WFIRM are truly conducting life-changing work and research,” Sen. Krawiec said. “North Carolina is known for its military bases and its support of the men and women who serve their country. Dr. Atala’s efforts build on that commitment and will have a lasting impact on North Carolina, and the world. His work not only positively impacts the lives of his patients, but also the economic vitality of Forsyth County.”

According to the North Carolina Biotech Economy Report, the bioscience field directly employs over 75,000 people in North Carolina and pumps $83 billion in the state’s economy.

Thanks to the General Assembly’s modifications to North Carolina’s Right to Try Laws in 2019, patients who are willing to undergo investigational stem cell therapies supervised by a physician now benefit from additional protections and safety parameters. While these therapies are in the process of receiving FDA approval, they hold promise to alleviate pain and improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from a chronic or terminal illness. WFIRM plays a large role in providing access to these therapies to patients from all over.

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