Regenerative medicine is an innovative new branch of medicine that develops methods to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues. The field includes the generation and use of cell/tissue reprogramming, therapeutic stem cells, tissue engineering and the production of bioartificial organs. A drug is eligible for regenerative medicine advanced therapy (RMAT) designation by the United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA), as described in Section 3033 of the 21st Century Cures Act. The new PhD program will be one of only six regenerative medicine PhD programs in the country and the second with an industry emphasis.
“Our goal is to have a limited size class made up of students from a variety of backgrounds,” Sen said. “There could be people coming from a biomedical engineering background, material science, biotechnology or many other areas of expertise.”
According to PR Newswire, the global regenerative medicine industry was valued at $35 billion in 2019. By 2025, it’s expected to grow to over $124 billion. Central Indiana is a growing hub for the field, with several Indiana-based companies in need of a greater regenerative medicine workforce. Six of these companies—Eli Lilly and Company, Cook Biotech-Cook Regentec, Roche, BioCrossroads, Ossium Health, Inc. and Techshot—are supporting the new PhD program by providing internship opportunities for students.
“Regenerating or engineering components of the body with therapeutic intent is a new horizon in medicine and will change the business of healthcare in general,” Sen said. “Our goal is to equip people to assume leadership positions to assemble new programs and define this new future of health care.”
The addition of this program will help continue to grow IU School of Medicine’s leadership in the field of regenerative medicine and engineering—giving learners an opportunity to discover the field at the earliest stages of their careers.
“IU School of Medicine is proud to be a leader in the growing field of regenerative medicine and engineering,” said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine and IU’s executive vice president for university clinical affairs. “This new program will help us address the major shortage of working professionals in this specialty. Students will become skilled in regenerative medicine-based innovations, regulatory science and supply chain management, making major contributions to the state’s economy and becoming leaders in the field on a statewide, national and global level.”
The program is part of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering, which is housed in the IU School of Medicine Department of Surgery. The center is a national leader in the areas of tissue nanotransfection, wound therapy, cell-based therapies, military medicine and more. There will be ample opportunities to work on research projects for students with an interest in these areas.
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.