Page 36 - 2019 Annual Report
P. 36

 From Bench to Bedside
The Medical School is at the forefront of developing a cell-based therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)—and this year, the
team of researchers leading this work has been awarded a grant from Duchenne UK to catalyze advancement of current preclinical discoveries. DMD is one of the most common fatal genetic diseases diagnosed in childhood. Patients who suffer from this disease cannot produce the protein that is vital for muscle strength and function, resulting in a progressive deterioration of muscle.
“It is really exciting to see this work progress from bench to clinical manufacturing lab. At
the completion of this work, we hope to be in a position to be ready to start a clinical trial, which
is a dream come true,” said Rita Perlingeiro, PhD, professor in the Department of Medicine, and the principal investigator of these pioneering studies.
“It takes a number of experts with different
skill sets to achieve what we have so far, and at
the University of Minnesota, we are uniquely positioned to succeed in this cell therapy program.”
Thanks to a partnership fostered from the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program among Doug Devens, PhD, Shannon Smith, MS, and General Surgery Resident Kevin Goodwin, MD, MBA, MS, MA, a new concussion therapy is on the horizon.
Still in testing under the guidance of Dr. Devens, chief technology officer, the Aurora Light Therapy System works in conjunction with standard treatments, using a wearable helmet to apply therapeutic levels of near-infrared light through the skull. The light helps restore normal cellular metabolism in the brain, accelerating the healing process for concussions and other mild brain trauma. The device has completed animal
safety studies and was recently designated a Breakthrough Device under the FDA’s Expedited Access Pathway.
 The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, one of the country’s first family medicine programs, celebrates 50 years.

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