Current Research

Research Initiatives

The CHARMED Foundation’s Research Focus Areas:

Cell Manufacturing – Bioreactor, cell-process sensor, and -omics based cell characterization technologies will be developed to reproducibly manufacture high-quality, affordable, potency validated cell products at large scale for therapeutic applications.

Personalized Medical Devices - Medical device implants specifically designed for the scale and functional requirements of pediatric and athlete patients will be manufactured using custom fabrication technologies such as 3D printing and rigorously tested in vivo.

Therapeutic Delivery - Biomaterials will be functionalized to deliver stem cells and/or bioactive factors that modulate immune and inflammatory responses and promote tissue repair and regeneration for pediatric and sports medicine clinical applications.

2016 CHARMED Foundation Funded Projects

Project Title: Immunomodulatory Biomaterials to Cure Juvenile Diabetes
Principal Investigator: Andrés J. García, Ph.D.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing β cells of the pancreas are destroyed. Type 1 diabetes affects 3 million children and adults in the US with 80 new cases diagnosed per day and associated healthcare costs exceeding $15 billion. Standard therapy with insulin injections is burdensome, associated with a significant danger of low blood sugar episodes, and only partially effective in preventing long term complications. Transplantation of pancreatic β cells isolated from cadaveric donors has emerged as a promising strategy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. However, this strategy is severely limited by insufficient supply of donor islets and immune rejection.  The goal of this project is to develop advanced biomaterials that prolong β cell survival and function without the need of immunosuppressive drugs.

Project Title: Synthetic Particle-based Nanobodies to Reverse Chronic Inflammation
Principal Investigator: Krishnendu Roy, Ph.D.

Chronic inflammation is a fundamental cause of many debilitating and often deadly disorders, from atherosclerosis and inflammatory arthritis, to fibrosis and even cancer.  Many autoimmune diseases, for example rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and uveitis, result in chronic and debilitating inflammatory conditions.  Psoriatic arthritis, which by some estimates affects more than 200,000 patients in the US alone each year, is correlated to high systemic levels of chronic inflammatory cytokines.  This project will focus on directly addressing psoriatic arthritis through development of highly potent nanobodies that can resolve chronic inflammation by targeting multiple immune pathways.  The therapeutic tools developed will be broadly applicable to other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders and improving the success of tissue regenerative interventions following severe trauma and injury.

Project Title: Human Amnion Treatment to Augment Repair of Ligament Injuries
Principal Investigators: Robert E. Guldberg, Ph.D. and Gary Lourie, M.D.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) are important stabilizers of knee motion. Damage to the ACL and MCL are the most common knee ligament injuries and are mainly associated with athletic accidents. Around 200,000 ACL injury cases occur in the United States and 100,000 reconstruction surgeries are annually performed. The gold standard for ligament reconstruction is the autologous tendon transfer.  However, this method requires a long rehabilitation time, decreases the range of motion of the joint, and is associated with weak bone-tendon integration.  The goal of this project is to test the ability of clinically available human amnion, currently used to treat non-healing wounds and corneal injuries, to accelerate the functional repair of damaged ligaments following reconstruction surgery.