Friday, March 30, 2012 - 1:04pm
Dr. Mark Wong, chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, was among researchers invited to the U.S. Navy Regenerative Medicine Symposium in Washington, D.C. earlier this month to report on advances in craniofacial tissue regeneration. The symposium, attended by military leadership, focused on current capabilities and future direction in regenerative medicine.
Colonel Robert Hale, commander of the Dental and Trauma Research Detachment, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, also presented on this subject.
Wong said the Craniofacial Program currently has four studies under way, each focusing on a different part of the face. In Houston, the focus is on regenerating bone using the patient’s own cells cultured within a chamber that can develop its own blood supply, resulting in vascularized bone tissue to implant into a wound that has been kept from deformed healing by use of a plastic “spacer.”
Wong also said AFIRM has changed things for researchers in several ways.
While most NIH grants support basic science research, AFIRM wants to fund technologies that
Having multiple institutions collaborate saves time and offsets the tendency to guard projects and results, he said. Thanks to online meetings, conference calls and collaboration software, everyone in the group sees the work, and “everybody is aware of what you’re doing, so it’s unlikely anyone would try to take undue credit,” Wong added.
Having multiple research sites — and multiple Congressional districts — involved also makes it easier to get support in Washington, he said.
Also participating in the symposium were Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Joseph Dunford Jr.; Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps, Lt. General Willie Williams, and the Surgeon General of the Navy, Vice Admiral Matthew Nathan.