Introducing the Transplant Regenerative Medicine COP

Dr. Jason Wertheim, the inaugural chair of the Transplant Regenerative Medicine Community of Practice (TRM COP), describes the motivation for founding this COP as well as the opportunities for those who join. The launch of this COP reflects the society’s commitment to providing an avenue for all individuals to engage with colleagues of similar interests and advance the transplantation field. Unlike the new Kidney Pancreas COP, which also launched this year and focuses on a well-established area within transplantation, the TRM COP looks to the future with the hope of discovering new approaches to meet the needs of individuals with advanced organ dysfunction or failure. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the TRM COP and consider joining.

Introducing the Transplant Regenerative Medicine COP

Jason Wertheim, MD, PhD, Northwestern University – Chair of the Transplant Regenerative Medicine COP

Over the past eight years, the field of regenerative medicine has progressed quickly. Regenerative medicine combines new technologies such as cell therapy, bioengineering, stem cell biology, and genetics to provide novel therapies for curing disease, replacing defective tissues, and restoring normal organ function. Currently, regenerative medicine therapies are in various stages of the development pipeline: we can already use tissue-engineered skin and decellurized small intestine in clinical practice, we are conducting clinical trials to evaluate tissue-engineered blood vessels for dialysis access, and we are looking at translational research in animal models of organ and tissue engineering. As such, the future implications of regenerative medicine are intrinsically linked to tissue and organ transplantation.

What does this mean for AST? As a national organization of transplant professionals, AST is uniquely positioned to provide a voice that influences the development, implementation, and regulation of this technology. To do this effectively, we have established the Transplant Regenerative Medicine Community of Practice (TRM COP). The TRM COP will focus on the translational development and implementation of regenerative medicine research and technology, with a focus on its application to cell, tissue and organ transplantation.

The TRM COP is broad and all-inclusive. Some examples of areas of investigation covered by this COP include:
• stem cell development and therapy,
• tissue and organ development and engineering,
• genetically modified cells and animal models,
• organ regeneration, and
• genome editing.

The TRM COP will promote multidisciplinary collaboration between individual AST members along with a horizontal integration of associate member groups such as industry members and foundations or societies with a specific interest in translational regenerative medicine. The integration these groups in translational regenerative medicine will allow AST to:
• coordinate synergistic efforts in technology development toward clinical implementation,
• provide an avenue for source-funding of regenerative medicine technologies in collaboration with the Transplantation and Immunology Research Network (TIRN), and
• coordinate efforts with the AST Public Policy Committee to influence government policy and regulation of regenerative medicine technologies in transplantation.

The TRM COP will bring together key players in regenerative medicine by promoting a collaborative effort between transplant physicians and surgeons, academic investigators, industrial experts, and foundations with particular interest in bringing regenerative medicine to the bedside.

I encourage you to join the TRM COP. As a member of this new group, you will help position AST as a leader in the regenerative medicine space, provide international consensus in regenerative medicine, and respond to these fast-moving technologies. We welcome anyone interested in learning more about this exciting technology!

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