A Record of Firsts

Physicians and scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are developing organs and tissues for virtually every part of the human body. The team's track record includes many “world firsts." This world-renowned team has engineered replacement tissues and organs in all four categories: flat structures, tubular tissue, and hollow and solid organs.

  • Developed a 3D bioprinter (the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System) specifically designed to print living tissue structures to replace injured or diseased tissue in patients. (2017) 
  • Proved feasibility of printing living tissue structures to replace injured or diseased tissue in patients. (2016) 
  • Selected to lead the second phase of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a $75-million project. (2013/14)
  • Built the first anal sphincters that function in animals, suggesting a potential future treatment for both fecal and urinary incontinence. (2011)
  • First to engineer functional experimental solid organs (miniature livers and penile erectile tissue) using a strategy of recycling donor organs, with potential applications to other solid organs, such as the kidney and pancreas. (2009 and 2010)
  • Selected to co-lead the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, an $85 million, federally funded effort to apply the science of regenerative medicine to battlefield injuries. (2008)
  • Identified and characterized a new source of stem cells derived from amniotic fluid and placenta, which show promise for the treatment of many diseases. (2007)
  • Founded the Regenerative Medicine Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of regenerative medicine treatments and therapies. (2005)
  • Led the team to engineered tubular organs (urine conduits) and implanted them in patients. (2004)
  • First to create a functional solid organ experimentally, a miniature kidney that secretes urine. (2003)
  • First to create a laboratory-grown organ -- engineered bladder tissue (hollow organ) -- that was successfully implanted in patients. (1999)
  • First to use biomaterials alone, without the addition of cells, in patients for the regeneration of organs. (1996)
  • Developed the first tissue-engineered product to go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval for clinical applications, consisting of cells and biomaterials for injectable therapy. (1995)
  • First to demonstrate that complex layered tissue structures can be engineered using cells. (1994)