The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) has been selected by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to establish a research planning center for benign conditions of the bladder.
WFIRM is a world leader in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The planning center works to leverage this talent and excellence to develop novel therapies and improved regenerative technologies to treat urological disease. Through the planning center, Wake Forest Baptist scientists focus on regeneration, repair and remodeling of the lower urinary tract.
A talented, multi-disciplinary research team is aimed at understanding the natural bladder regeneration that occurs in mammals. Through understanding and harnessing this process, scientists aim to help the estimated 35 million Americans with bladder conditions—such as congenital disorders and inflammation—that reduce bladder function and affect quality of life.
A primary goal of the center is to develop a mouse model to gain understanding of the mechanisms of bladder regeneration. Scientists are using new imaging technologies to identify the sources of cells that are responsible for rapid bladder wall regeneration.
The center has received a series of Administrative Supplement Awards for additional work in:
Administrative Supplement (WFIRM)
The goal of this supplement is two-fold:
- We will adapt our existing multispectral in vitro immunohistochemistry (IHC) capabilities to an in vivo approach that will permit serial imaging of specific transplanted cells in the bladder over the entire time course of the regenerative response (F. Marini, PhD, PI).
- We will use novel blood pool magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents to permit an extensive investigation of angiogenesis during the time course of bladder regeneration (A. Mohs, PhD, PI).
Taken together, these two studies will provide an unprecedented level of mechanistic insight concerning both key spatiotemporal contributions of various transplanted cell types to bladder regeneration and the “real time” process of angiogenesis during mammalian organ regeneration.
Administrative Supplement to Cathy Mendelsohn, PhD, Columbia University
This collaboration allows researchers to use murine subtotal cystectomy and transplant models for harnessing the power of mouse genetics and further explore cellular and molecular mechanisms of bladder regeneration. Specifically, the work will permit lineage tracing of urothelial progenitor cell participation in the complete functional regeneration observed in the murine bladder following 60% subtotal cystectomy. The first model to be tested will be the Upk3aGCE (UpK3a: uroplakin 3) transgenic cherry line from Dr. Mendelsohn’s lab.
Administrative Supplement to Chuck Bierberich, PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore
The goal of this collaboration is to develop a novel transgenic rat model to elucidate the role of UpkII + (uroplalkin) cells during rat bladder regeneration. This transgenic rat will also bolster the knowledge base by allowing the Genitourinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP) members to have access to a rat model in addition to the current mouse models. Moreover, future generated transgenic rats can benefit from the use of UpkII-restricted rtTA expression to specifically target gene activity to the bladder. In addition, parallel development of transgenic rat lines seems a logical extension of ongoing mouse molecular genetics.
Read about our latest bladder regeneration research:
“Age-Related Alterations in Regeneration of the Urinary Bladder after Subtotal Cystectomy.”
View the manuscript
“Early stages of in situ bladder regeneration in a rodent model.” Burmeister D, Aboushwareb T, Tan J, Link K,
Andersson KE, Christ G. Tissue Eng Part A. 2010 Aug;16(8):2541-51
View the manuscript
Leadership and Faculty
The planning center team has extensive and complementary experience in research and clinical translation in the lower urinary tract.