Regenerative Medicine Solutions for the US Military

on 08.23.2017 / by Daniel Thrasher / 0 comments in Research, Thoughts

We’ve seen huge strides in regenerative medicine solutions over the past few decades. Thanks to the field’s groundbreaking gene, cell, and tissue-based therapies, countless people can now enjoy pain relief and restored functionality after injury or deterioration.

The pace of new discoveries in regenerative medicine is only accelerating, and Burst Biologics is proud to be a part of this progress, creating innovative new products that help consolidate bone, regenerate soft tissue, and more.

Of course, our work to date has focused on patients and physicians in the civilian world, but we’re excited to announce that we’ll also be conducting research on behalf of the military! Soon, our newest staff Ph.D. will begin applying for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) grants related to gene and cellular therapy on behalf of Burst Biologics.

US soldiers benefit from regenerative medicine solutions

As a company, we have staff with close associations to the military, including our CEO Christopher Jones, a veteran who’s designated Burst Biologics as a veteran-owned business. That’s why this next step is meaningful for the company, both personally and professionally.

It’s inspiring to us that the research we do will end up saving lives and dramatically improving the quality of life of wounded soldiers.

Regeneration From the Wounds of War

It may have gone under your radar, but the US military has already taken note of the power of regenerative medicine.

In fact, the US Army has employed regenerative medicine solutions to help wounded service members over the last decade. This is partly thanks to an organization called AFIRM – the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine – which helps develop advanced treatment options for injured servicemen and women.

Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine

It’s important to note the difference between treating civilian patients and active soldiers wounded in the line of duty. Many service members sustain unique tissue injuries and complications in combat due to bullets, shrapnel, and high-energy explosives. As a result, the damage that must be healed is far more extensive than in most civilian injuries.

War trauma often requires restoration of complex tissues involving a number of integrated cell types – in civilian patients, on the other hand, physicians can use regenerative medicine solutions for a targeted, localized function, such as mesenchymal stem cells in the spinal cord for bone growth.

The Emergence of New Regenerative Medicine Solutions

Obviously, there are serious challenges associated with treating wartime wounds, which is why organizations like AFIRM are so important. In conjunction with the research undertaken at a number of medical technology companies, AFIRM has already been able to successfully treat severely burned skin with some novel solutions:

  • Embrace. A stress-shielding surgical bandage that reduces scarring after surgical intervention.
  • ReCell. A “spray-on” skin designed for first or second degree burns.
  • StrataGraft. A durable skin substitute that will heal normally after application.

These particular skin healing innovations dramatically improve treatment effectiveness and make it possible for soldiers to recover without the need for donor sites. There have also been major advancements in other areas, such as hand and face transplantations, with further progress underway on vascular composite tissue allotransplantation, craniomaxillofacial reconstruction, and extremity injury treatment.  

Honoring US military servicemen and women

Ultimately, the goal is to fully heal anyone who’s been injured in battle, which includes both civilians and wounded soldiers. Regenerative medicine solutions come into play when conventional treatment options aren’t effective enough to restore lost functionality, form, and comfort.

Applying for DoD Grants

AFIRM is playing a key role in the revolution of regenerative medicine solutions for the military, because the Army doesn’t have the expertise or the budget to develop novel medical solutions on its own. Instead, the DoD defines projects that it wants to come to fruition and funds the research that makes them possible.

Sometimes, the DoD will pick just one organization to handle the research for a project – but in other instances, a massive project is broken down into different facets and shared among a handful of organizations based on their areas of expertise.

As a medical research company, Burst Biologics is committed to helping the military and our nation’s servicemen and women through pioneering biomedical research. Our next step is to look for DoD solicitations that we can fulfill and apply for grants. This will help cover the costs as we conduct research in-house today that will support the health and well-being of our troops tomorrow.

The Future of Regenerative Medicine Solutions

Regenerative medicine couldn’t have come at a better time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all adults in the United States (117 million people) suffered from one or more chronic health conditions.

This is an alarming statistic, particularly because most treatments for chronic diseases today are simply palliative – they don’t do much to prevent or delay disease progression or the onset of complications.

While regenerative medicine is still a burgeoning field, there’s already evidence to suggest that it can address the underlying mechanisms and causes of disease, in a way that’s never been possible before.

Here are a few examples we’re likely to see soon:

  • Cell therapy targeting blood cancers and solid tumors.
  • Gene therapy for genetic diseases and chronic conditions.
  • Gene editing to modify the genetic material of a patient’s cells to cure a range of diseases all at once.

If there’s one key takeaway here, it’s that we should no longer think of regenerative medicine solutions merely as “the future.”

The future is here now, making a difference in the lives of civilians and service members – and Burst Biologics is proud to be among those ranks, rethinking and evolving science every day.

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