A new regenerative medicine partnership between North Carolina State University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center aims to find ways to regenerate damaged organs first in pets and eventually in people.

The goal will be to translate laboratory research into new medical therapies. NCSU’s Center for Collaborative Medicine and Translational Research, or CCMTR, will work together with Wake Forest’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

The two institutions will share faculty, students and research.

Developing regenerative medicine therapies for companion animals is seen as an important first step in developing human therapies.

“The ability to study diseases that affect organ health in animals is critically useful for advances in human medicine as these animals share our environment and the vast majority of our genes,” NCSU professor of genomics and director of the CCMTR Jorge Piedrahita said in a statement. “Also, there are some human therapies currently in use that companion animals can benefit from right away, such as bladder tissue regeneration.”

The partnership pairs the research strengths of the respective institutions. NCSU’s CCMTR culls faculty from each of the university’s five colleges, including its College of Veterinary Medicine.

Wake Forest’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine has already spun some its research out into companies pursuing human applications of the technology. For example, Pennsylvania-based Tengion (NASDAQ: TNGN), which has its R&D operations in Winston-Salem, was based on the research of the institute’s director Dr. Anthony Atala.

The company is currently in clinical trials studying its technology for use in patients who have had their bladder removed due to bladder cancer.

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