By Wayne Koberstein, Executive Editor, Life Science Leader magazine
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Adding Education to Advocacy at the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine
In the beginning of the new millennium, a new therapeutic approach also dawned — actually a number of new approaches gathered collectively under the umbrella term “regenerative medicine (RM).” The most notable case in the first years of the 2000s concerned Christopher Reeve, the first A-movie Superman. Reeve injured his spinal cord so severely he could only move his eyes and mouth, and his very survival seemed to hang in the balance minute to minute. He became a strong public advocate for experimental therapies based on stem-cell technology. At the time, political opposition to the technology flared up because it would use stem cells from human embryos discarded by fertility clinics. Industry and business mainly shied away from the sector, and it seemed most of the energy in “tissue engineering” flowed into a search for alternatives to embryonic stem cells, the so-called pluripotent cells in skin and other tissues of full-grown humans. But progress on several fronts continued, and now almost two decades later, nearly 900 companies worldwide are developing RM therapies, and the field has a strong advocate of its own: The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM).