MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Feb. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Heritage Medical Research Institute (HMRI) announced a grant to Stanford University School of Medicine supporting further research that will expand opportunities to explore transformative paths leading to new cartilage growth in the area of skeletal regeneration. HMRI is a nonprofit founded by visionary healthcare executive Richard Merkin, MD.
The award supports investigators at Stanford Medicine working to identify novel approaches to generate new factors in cartilage growth that could lead to alleviating pain suffered by millions as a result of loss of cartilage with degenerative disc diseases, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, aging and cancer.
Dr. Merkin was inspired by the work of Charles KF Chan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, at Stanford Medicine and Michael T. Longaker, MD, Director of Regenerative Medicine at Stanford Medicine. They were recently able, for the first time, to grow new cartilage that looked normal and lasted for several months in mice suffering from arthritis.
«This work represents critical breakthroughs toward the advancement of treating more than 50 million people who suffer from common knee and hip pain related to osteoarthritis,» said Dr. Merkin. «Once I learned about this remarkable step toward growing new cartilage that scientists previously believed could never grow back once lost, I knew I had to jump onboard and encourage this research that is so vitally promising and exciting,» he continued.
The award names Dr. Chan as a Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator, joining a community of over 50 principal science researchers sponsored by HMRI in the US. His team will have the opportunity to further their research expanding it with the goal of preventing and reversing arthritic damage to cartilage tissues in the joints.
«My team, Dr. Longaker, and our colleagues in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, and the Stem Cell Institute, are so grateful to Dr. Merkin, Jeffrey Karish, Director, and the Heritage Medical Research Institute for their generous support of our research, which builds on our discovery of mouse and human skeletal stem cells,» said Dr. Chan. «Stem cells are the rare ‘seed’ cells responsible for making and regenerating new tissues. This grant will propel our search for new ways to awaken sleeping stem cells in the body to regenerate diseased, injured, or aged skeletal tissues, including bone, cartilage, blood stem cell-supporting stromal cells and possibly spinal disc and tendons.»
About Richard Merkin, MD:
Richard Merkin, MD is the founder and CEO of Heritage Provider Network, Inc. (HPN) one of the most experienced physician organization leaders of accountable care and continuous value-based healthcare delivery improvements. Developing and managing coordinated, patient-doctor centric, integrated health care systems that offers some of the strongest solutions for the future of health, care and cost in the United States. HPN and its affiliates operate in New York, California, Arizona and Missouri providing high quality, cost effective healthcare with over one million patient members and are dedicated to quality, affordable health care, and putting patients’ wellness first.