Regenerative Rehabilitation

Proposed Theme Title: Regenerative Rehabilitation

Office Holders

  • Chair:
    • Fabrisia Ambrosio, PhD, MPT
      Associate Professor
      Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
      University of Pittsburgh
      Pittsburgh, PA
  • Vice-Chairs:
    • Hiroshi Kuroki, MPT, PhD
      Professor, Department of Motor Function Analysis,
      Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine,
      Kyoto University,
      Kyoto, JAPAN 


      Christopher Evans, PhD
      Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
      Mayo Clinic
      Rochester, MN

  • Secretary:
    • George Christ, PhD
      Department of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery
      University of Virginia
      Charlotte, VA


Thematic Group Members:


  • North America
    • Stephen F. Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD Professor of Surgery
      McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
      University of Pittsburgh
      Pittsburgh, PA
    • Michael Boninger, MD Professor and Chair
      Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
      University of Pittsburgh
      Pittsburgh, PA
    • Thomas Rando, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurological Sc
      iences Stanford University,
      Palo Alto, CA
    • Terry Loghmani, PhD, PT Associate Professor of Physical Therapy
      Indiana University
      Indianapolis, IN
    • Kimberly Topp, PT, PhD Professor & Chair, Department of Physical Therapy
      and Rehabilitation Science, Sexton Sutherland Endowed chair in Human Anatomy
      UC, San Francisco
      San Francisco, CA
    • Nick J. Willett PhD Assistant Professor Department of Orthopaedics
      Emory University
  • Asia-Pacific
    • Hiroshi Kuroki, MPT, PhD Professor, Department of Motor Function Analysis,
      Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine,
      Kyoto University,
      Kyoto, JAPAN
    • Tomoki Aoyama, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Development and Reha
      bilitation of Motor Function Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine
      Kyoto University,
      Kyoto, JAPAN
    • Akira Ito, MPT, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Motor Function An
      alysis Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine,
      Kyoto University,
      Kyoto, JAPAN
  • Europe
    • Silvestro Micera, PhD
      Professor and Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Translational Neuroengineering
      École Polytechnique Féderale de Lausanne
      Genéve, SWITZERLAND

      Professor, Translational Neural Engineering Area, Head
      The BioRobotics Institute
      Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
      Pisa, ITALY

    • Carmelo Chisari, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
      University Hospital of Pisa
      Pisa, ITALY
    • Dr. Martin Stoddart, AO Foundation, Davos, Switzerland
    • Dr. Marzia Bedoni, Don Gnocchi Foundation, Milan, Italy


Statement of Scientific and Clinical Rationale for the Theme

The development of regenerative medicine technologies holds great potential to drive progress in the prevention and treatment of individuals with a host of acute and chronic pathologies resulting from injury, disease or aging. As we approach a new era of technological advancements, regenerative medicine scientists must work closely with rehabilitation specialists in the development of clinical protocols to optimize functional recovery. To date, there have been few opportunities for regenerative biologists to be exposed to protocols and methodologies commonly employed in the clinic by rehabilitation professionals, protocols which serve as potent stimuli to drive functional tissue restoration. Nor are most rehabilitation scientists and clinicians exposed to the many advances in the field of regenerative medicine. There is, therefore, a great need increase the interaction of individuals across the fields of rehabilitative and regenerative medicine such that, as technologies are developed and as understanding of regenerative biology progresses, advances may be smoothly and efficiently translated to the clinic.

The focus of this TERMIS Thematic Group proposal is Regenerative Rehabilitation. Regenerative Rehabilitation is the integration of principles and approaches from the fields of rehabilitation science and regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine focuses on the repair or replacement of tissue lost to injury, disease, or age, primarily via the enhancement of endogenous stem cell function or the transplantation of exogenous stem cells. A focus of rehabilitation science is the use of mechanical and other physical stimuli to promote functional recovery. Regenerative Rehabilitation creates synergies through the integration of these two approaches with the ultimate goal of optimizing independence and participation of individuals with disabilities.

Just as endogenous tissues benefit from the application of rehabilitation protocols to promote functional tissue recovery after injury and with disease, it is increasingly recognized that the functional efficacy of regenerative medicine technologies may be enhanced when coupled with mechanical stimuli. The application of exercise programs or modalities may stimulate the normally occurring developmental sequences at the donor-host interface. This stimulus, in turn, can foster the integration of donor transplants in a useful and functional manner and promote intrinsic healing of the host tissue. Many studies have demonstrated that the application of rehabilitation protocols in combination with cellular therapeutics for the treatment of injured or diseased tissue enhances transplantation efficacy and improves functional outcomes. Cellular responses to "beneficial" magnitudes of dynamic mechanical forces have been associated with improved tissue function, cellular longevity and recovery following injury. Conversely, excessive loading following injury or disease may trigger a cascade of deleterious consequences that exacerbate tissue dysfunction. A better understanding of the synergistic effect of rehabilitation approaches and regenerative medicine technologies has the potential to propel the translation of regenerative technologies into functionally-relevant treatment interventions for a host of pathologies. In addition, a better understanding of the effect of mechanical stimulation on stem cell behavior and functioning will help guide the development of targeted and specific clinical rehabilitation programs.

The sponsoring TWIG is the International Consortium for Regenerative Rehabilitation (ICRR), a worldwide network of scientists and clinicians from across the domains of regenerative medicine and rehabilitation science who are working together with the objective of creating new knowledge, therapies, strategies and technologies that will improve or restore function and enhance the quality of life. Partnering institutions of the ICRR include: the University of Pittsburgh, the Mayo Clinic, Stanford University, the University of California San Francisco, the University of Virginia, Emory University, Indiana University, Kyoto University, and the University of Pisa.

The formation of a Regenerative Rehabilitation thematic group within TERMIS will strengthen the relationship between tissue engineering/regenerative medicine researchers and rehabilitation scientists, ultimately accelerating the translation of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering technologies to the clinic.

Proposed Activities

The ICRR comprises members from each of the three Continental Chapters of TERMIS. As such, we intend to regularly organize Regenerative Rehabilitation symposia at the annual meetings of these chapters so as to further drive the science underlying Regenerative Rehabilitation. As a part of this initiative, we will encourage the submission of Regenerative Rehabilitation abstracts to the annual TERMIS meeting. Those abstracts that self-identify as relating to Regenerative Rehabilitation will be eligible to participate in our "best poster" competitions. Members of the Regenerative Rehabilitation thematic group will referee abstracts, and winners will receive a travel award to attend the next respective TERMIS meeting. At these annual meetings, we will also organize networking sessions to further promote collaboration across a multidisciplinary and international group.

Beyond the TERMIS annual meetings, we will also reunite TERMIS Regenerative Rehabilitation thematic group members at the International Annual Symposium on Regenerative Rehabilitation. This Symposium is a joint effort of the ICRR institutions and represents an ideal forum for the communication and dissemination of research findings that demonstrate the synergistic relationship between regenerative medicine and rehabilitation. This Symposium is endorsed by TERMIS.

Finally, we will promote and encourage the development of Regenerative Rehabilitation educational modules, including webinars and podcasts. We will provide didactic training that both exposes rehabilitation clinicians to state-of-the-art advances in the field of regenerative medicine, while also encouraging regenerative medicine researchers to consider clinically-relevant rehabilitation paradigms to enhance functional tissue restoration.