CRMRP Hosts First State-of-the-Science Regenerative Medicine Meeting
The Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program, a program area directorate within the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, organized and hosted its first Regenerative Medicine Stakeholders Meeting at the Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland, April 11-12.
Intended to assess the current state-of-the-science in regenerative medicine, 308 participants – 215 in person and 93 on the phone – gathered together to share information; to work together to identify gaps related to regenerating lost or damaged tissue to ultimately restore Wounded Warriors after severe traumatic injury.
"The primary purpose of the meeting was to assess where the field of regenerative medicine stands after 10 years of federal investment," said Dr. Lloyd Rose, Regenerative Medicine Research Portfolio manager and lead planner of this year's event. "Specific focus areas included peripheral nerve, skeletal muscle, bone cartilage, skin, vision and regenerative rehabilitation."
By plane or by phone, individuals traveled from not just across the country – 34 states to be exact – but across the globe - Lebanon, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Nigeria and the United Kingdom - to participate in the CRMRP's first-of-its-kind assembly.
"We offered the virtual option as we had far more interested attendees than space to physically accommodate them," added Rose.
Opening up this virtual option to attendee's ensured maximum participation at this year's meeting; making it possible for over 189 different organizations – of those 35 U.S. government – to come together in support of Warfighter health.
The majority of invitees were researchers and clinicians in the various fields of regenerative medicine, including military researchers and clinicians from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, San Antonio Military Medical Center, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the U.S. Military Academy, various Military Treatment Facilities and Veteran's Affairs Health systems. Extramural researchers were also invited from a broad range of institutions.
The first day of the meeting included four panel discussions. The first, a military users panel; the second focusing on extremity trauma, specifically nerve and muscle; the third focusing again on extremity trauma, but this time specific to bone and cartilage; and the fourth panel centering on regenerative rehabilitation. First day moderators included Col. Teresa Brininger, CRMRP director; Lt. Col. Leon Nesti from the Northern Regional Medical Command; Dr. Luis Alvarez; and Dr. Alison Cernich from the National Institutes of Health.
"The panels were assembled by myself with the assistance of CRMRP colleagues and management, evaluated for their contributions to the field and standing in the research community," said Rose. "Moderators were selected based on long affiliations with military-relevant regenerative medicine efforts either as surgeons or researchers."
Day two was comprised of two morning panel discussions, the first with a focus on burns and skin and the second focusing on ocular systems. Dr. Rodney Chan, a plastic surgeon at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, a subordinate command of the USAMRMC, moderated the first morning panel discussion; while Maj. Jason Harris from the USAISR moderated the second.
"The meeting in our minds was a great success," said Rose. "I heard a lot of positive feedback, including from one experienced investigator who told me he thought it was the best symposium he had attended. There were also a lot of people who haven't ever been directly engaged with military medicine who said the military panel was very moving and inspiring to them."
Information gathered from the discussions at this meeting are intended to be utilized to facilitate the development of the CRMRP's goals and objectives, and potential future award mechanisms.