Wednesday August 19, 2015 0 comments
LOVELAND -- Colorado’s bioscience industry is entering an era of innovative regenerative medicine in which stem cell products, 3D bioprinting and limb salvaging are helping both companion animals and humans to have a better quality of life after an accident, illness or infection.
That message was delivered Tuesday at the first Biomaterials Summit held at Medical Center of the Rockies and hosted by NoCoBio – Northern Colorado Bioscience Cluster – and Innosphere startup incubator.
Companies presenting at the summit included AlloSource, one of the nation’s largest cellular and tissue networks; 3D Systems Healthcare, which is using 3D printing technologies to improve patient outcomes; Diazamed,a company specializing in natural wound healing processes and medical device coatings; BioPoly, which offers a less invasive alternative treatment to joint replacement surgery; and Sharklet Technologies, which is focused on inhibiting bacterial growth through a sharklike skin surface.
Dr. Peter Stevens, AlloSource’s VP of strategy, development and growth, said the company founded on human tissue donation has developed stem cell-based products for bone regeneration, among other breakthrough medical treatments.
Stevens said the ongoing progress in bone marrow and stem cell technologies is just beginning to be understood.
“The industry has been implanting bone marrow without really knowing what they were doing – they just knew it worked,” Stevens said. “From a science perspective, we’re looking at the impact of a stem cell in terms of a more rapid regeneration.”
An audience of about 100 people also heard Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, a professor in Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center, describe advancements in new regenerative techniques in salvaging limbs that would have simply been lost not so long ago.
Ehrhart is the first woman to have been awarded a University Chair position at CSU. She said CSU’s work with dogs has made the university “sort of a limb salvage mecca for dogs.”
“Humans and animals develop identical diseases, but diseases progress faster in animals, making them good test subjects,” she said.
Ehrhart said improvements in limb preservation will depend on a combination of new medical devices and a better understanding of how the patient’s body can help with the healing process.
“A purely medical solution is never going to be the answer,” she said. “We need to harness the biology of the patient.”
The summit also included a panel discussion of biomedical innovations from three Colorado companies – Diazamed, BioPoly and Sharklet Technologies -- on their way to achieving commercialization of their products.
Deanna Scott, NoCoBio executive director, said audience members included UCHealth clinicians, graduate students and medical device industry representatives.
The goal of the summit, she said, was to educate health professionals and celebrate Colorado’s rapidly growing biomaterials industry.
“What we wanted to do is bring everyone together because biomaterials has really hit a critical mass in Colorado in terms of new innovations,” Scott said.
“We thought this would be a perfect time to celebrate that.”
Sponsor of the summit was Colorado Business Bank, with support from UCHealth, CSU, CSU Ventures, City of Fort Collins, Innosphere and the Colorado BioScience Association.