by Jeremy Olson
An obsolete surgical balloon might not sound like a tool of cutting-edge health care, but doctors at Mayo Clinic are repurposing it as they expand the field of regenerative medicine beyond organ transplants and stem cells to new therapies that can coax the body to repair itself. Mayo physicians are testing the balloon on unborn babies who have a defect that causes their lower organs to bunch up and choke lung growth. By threading the balloon into the womb and inflating it to block the baby’s throat, doctors can reverse chest pressure, pushing the organs back down and giving the lungs space to heal and grow on their own. The technique illustrates how the state’s expertise has grown in five years under the Regenerative Medicine Minnesota program.
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Context: To develop new clinical applications that address the unmet needs of these patients, Mayo Clinic established the Center for Regenerative Medicine in 2011.
Mayo Clinic and center leaders believe that regenerative medicine, which makes it possible to actually repair diseased, injured or congenitally defective tissues and organs, will be a vital component of medical and surgical practice in the coming years. By harnessing the potential of regenerative medicine, Mayo Clinic is poised to create new models of health care and transform medicine and surgery. You can learn more about the center here.
Contact: Susan Buckles