Initial Six Teams to Compete for New Organ Liver Prize

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Scientists Begin Rallying Around Global Effort to Create a New Liver

New Organ, a collective initiative for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, announced today the initial six teams competing for the New Organ Liver Prize, a global prize competition sponsored by the Methuselah Foundation, a biomedical charity. The prize challenge will award $1,000,000 to the first team that creates a regenerative or bioengineered solution that enables a large animal to live 90 days without native liver function.

Initial teams represent scientists from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research, University College of London, University of Florida, University of Oxford, University of Pittsburgh, and Yokohama City University. Additional teams are under review and will be announced in the future.

New Organ Founder and Methuselah CEO David Gobel: “We are gratified to see the initial interest in the Liver Prize. We are doing this because of the millions who need new organs. Organ disease, and the associated organ shortage, represents one of the greatest medical challenges that can be solved. A scientific foundation has been built over the last 15 years to pursue the vision of organs on demand. It’s time for a significant societal commitment to that vision.”

The prize teams are led by:

● Dr. Tahera Ansari (Team Hepavive): Pursuing the ‘decell-recell’ approach to bioengineering a liver.
● Dr. Stephen Badylak (Team Badylak): A pioneer in biologic scaffolds using extracellular matrix.
● Dr. Eric Lagasse (Team Ectogenesis): Grew mini-livers inside the lymph nodes of mice with liver disease.
● Dr. Bryon Petersen (Team Petersen): An authority on the role of hepatic stem cells in liver pathology.
● Dr. Takanori Takebe (Team Organ Creative): Created tiny ‘liver buds’ that grew and functioned in mice.
● Dr. Basak Uygun (Team HepaTx): First to report proof-of-principle transplantation of engineered liver grafts.

Representing distinguished leaders within regenerative medicine, the Founding Fellows of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) remarked: “We strongly and enthusiastically endorse New Organ. Regenerative medicine has made significant advances in the past 15 years and the New Organ Liver Prize represents a golden opportunity for the next leap forward. The public and the medical community will realize a remarkable clinical benefit with the availability of ‘off the shelf’ whole livers obviating the need for donor organs, and the medical health care system will simultaneously benefit. We hope this forward-looking effort sets the standard that inspires other initiatives to focus all the resources of regenerative medicine on solving major health care challenges.”

About New Organ:

New Organ is a collective initiative tackling organ disease by building a prize portfolio and global alliance of partners committed to advancing breakthroughs in bioengineering, banking, and regenerating vital organs, starting with the liver. It is designed to be a collaborative network of government, industry, and philanthropic organizations working together for the benefit of society. In December 2013, the New Organ Liver Prize was launched at the World Stem Cell Summit with $1 million in initial funding from the Methuselah Foundation. Learn more at http://neworgan.org.

About Methuselah Foundation:

Methuselah Foundation is a biomedical charity working to extend healthy life by advancing tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Methuselah has given more than $4 million to support R&D in regenerative technologies, including founding investments in Organovo, SENS Research Foundation, and Silverstone Solutions. It seeks to enable a world where 90-year-olds are as healthy as 50-year-olds by 2030. Learn more at http://mfoundation.org.

About Institute of Competition Sciences:

Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS) serves as the managing partner of New Organ, overseeing strategy, design, and operations. ICS specializes in large-scale incentivized innovation programs, having supported corporate, government, and nonprofit prizes totaling more than $9,000,000. ICS clients have included: NASA, Methuselah, Lemelson, Ideas42, Robin Hood Foundation, SETI, Goodwill, et al. Learn more at http://competitionsciences.org.

Media Contact:

Tyler Emerson
Executive Producer
(650) 353-6063
tyler.emerson(at)neworgan(dot)org

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