Two weeks ago, our social media leader Eric Cunningham and I went down to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Wake Forest’s annual Regenerative Medicine Essentials conference. At the conference, top experts in the field of regenerative medicine talked about all aspects of our work, from what biomaterials are most effective for different indications, to various enabling technologies, to regulatory hurdles and common financing pitfalls to be weary of when running a regenerative medicine company.
It was a well-spent week. Eric and I got to speak with the one and only Dr. Anthony Atala – known as the godfather of regenerative medicine, and also a urological surgeon working on the first regenerated penises to be transplanted in a clinical trial in the near future.
From left to right: Eric Clopper, Anthony Atala, our grad student friend Sugat from Italy, and Eric Cunningham
One of the common questions we get is, “If Wake Forest is working on regenerated penises, will that include the foreskin?” Unfortunately, from what we could gather, Wake Forest’s focus is solely on the corpora of the penis. Each part of the penis, like any tissue, requires specialized attention in regenerative medicine. Although Wake Forest is working on penile corpora as well as innervated skin, the foreskin is not their focus. However, the advances that Wake Forest makes in the field, combined with the global community of regenerative researchers will undoubtedly play a role in Foregen’s success as the scientific and medical community marches towards recreating every tissue of the human body.
On a more concrete level, this conference provided a great opportunity for us to network with graduate students, medical students, researchers, physicians, and other industry representatives in the field of regenerative medicine. For example, we got to catch up with some of our friends we made at the World Stem Cell Summit where I had the opportunity to pitch Foregen at last year. We even got invited back to the upcoming 2016 World Stem Cell Summit to pitch again and report on all the progress we made this year, which is very exciting! We got to catch up with other leaders in the field to bounce ideas off each other regarding funding, developing, and commercializing Foregen’s goal.
Wake Forest’s Atrium at Biotech Place – the hub of biotech startups
In addition to networking with some of the movers and shakers of the regenerative medicine world, we also made tangible progress for our research team as well. Our approach to the regenerating the foreskin (at least initially) is the same as Wake Forest’s approach to regenerating penile corpora. That is, decellularizing adult foreskin and reseeding it with the patient’s own cells. To that end, we were able to secure additional sources of adult human foreskin tissue to continue our research before we proceed to the preclinical animal trials. These important trials must precede the first human clinical trial in order to test the safety and efficacy of the regenerative foreskin restoration therapy that we are developing.
We can’t thank our supporters enough for enabling us to attend these critical events with other leaders of the field! Thanks for sticking with us and being patient with us as we have assembled our research team and continue to explore various methods to develop an extracellular mold of the foreskin for eventual regeneration. Your support has been critical in getting us operating as a recognized research entity in the field.
If you believe in the work we are doing and our goal to restore circumcised penises to their natural form, feeling, and function via regenerative medicine we encourage you to become a supporter here. We do our best to pay back your early generosity with updates, perks, 1-on-1 Skype calls and a variety of other ways to show our appreciation.
Eric Cunningham and I in front of Biotech Place after a week well-spent in North Carolina
Please be sure to check our blog periodically as we will have more news to report on the research side in the near future.