SMITHFIELD, Va., Feb. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Smithfield Foods, Inc. and the University of Virginia School of Engineering & Applied Science announced today a research partnership to explore and advance regenerative medicine technologies leveraging porcine bioproducts. The research is part of a collaborative project between UVA and Smithfield Bioscience, a strategic business platform within Smithfield Foods that is focused on supporting a range of biotechnology solutions in areas of human therapeutics, tissue fabrication and regenerative medicine.
“Nearly one million Americans suffer from injuries, disorders, and diseases that result in a significant amount of skeletal muscle loss each year,” said Courtney Stanton, vice president of Smithfield Bioscience and Renewable Bioproducts. “From our wounded veterans to babies born with a cleft lip to those who have suffered traumatic accidents, there is an overwhelming need for bioengineered skeletal muscle. This research and partnership with UVA is a promising step toward meeting this demand.”
The goal of this research is to develop and test a tissue-engineering process for skeletal muscle repair and regeneration using porcine-derived materials. Leveraging these porcine materials has its advantages because it can be muscle-specific prior to implantation and more easily accepted by the human body. Researchers will also conduct proof-of-concept studies, which are a critical step in pursuing clinical trials.
“The research partnership between UVA and Smithfield Bioscience represents engineering at its best, as this partnership seeks to leverage the strengths of both organizations to ultimately use engineered cells and tissues as products that will benefit patients,” said Frederick H. Epstein, professor and chair of UVA’s Biomedical Engineering Department and professor of radiology and medical imaging.
This research is an important part of a larger consortium of about 100 organizations, including Smithfield and UVA. These organizations are coming together under the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, which is working to accelerate regenerative tissue research and creating state-of-the-art manufacturing innovations in biomaterial and cell processing for critical Department of Defense and civilian needs.
George Christ, a UVA professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery, Mary Muilenburg Stamp professor of orthopedic research in the School of Medicine, and co-director of UVA’s new $3 million Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing, explained, “There’s been a tremendous amount of money and time spent on research and development in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, but the ability to manufacture the cells, tissues, and biomaterials needed on a scale large enough to truly transform patient care doesn’t exist. By partnering with Smithfield Bioscience and leveraging porcine bioproducts, we are hoping to help change all of that.”
Dr. A. Bobby Chhabra, Chair of Orthopedic Surgery for UVA Health System, said, “We are hopeful that this research collaboration will reveal new technologies for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, which would revolutionize the treatments physicians provide to patients with injuries involving large-scale muscle loss associated with upper and lower extremity trauma.”
For more information about UVA’s Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing, please visit uva-advancedbiomanufacturing.com.
For more information about Smithfield Bioscience, please visit smithfieldbioscience.com.
About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including SmithfieldⓇ, EckrichⓇ, Nathan's FamousⓇ, FarmlandⓇ, ArmourⓇ, Farmer JohnⓇ, KretschmarⓇ, John MorrellⓇ, Cook'sⓇ, GwaltneyⓇ, CarandoⓇ, MargheritaⓇ, Curly'sⓇ, Healthy OnesⓇ, MorlinyⓇ, KrakusⓇ and BerlinkiⓇ. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com.
About Smithfield Bioscience
Smithfield Bioscience is a strategic platform of Smithfield Foods, a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. Established in 2017, Smithfield Bioscience leverages byproducts from the meat production process for the development of pharmaceuticals, regenerative medicine, nutraceuticals, and medical device solutions. Smithfield leads the industry in developing these types of cutting edge initiatives, which support a range of biotechnology solutions in areas of human therapeutics, tissue fabrication and regenerative medicine. For more information, visit www.smithfieldbioscience.com.
About UVA Engineering
As part of the top-ranked, comprehensive University of Virginia, UVA Engineering is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected engineering schools. Outstanding students and faculty from around the world choose UVA Engineering because of our growing and internationally recognized education and research programs, focused on developing interdisciplinary solutions to global challenges. Our mission is to make the world a better place by creating and disseminating knowledge and by preparing future engineering leaders. Learn more at engineering.virginia.edu.
|Smithfield Foods, Inc.|
|University of Virginia|
Elizabeth Thiel Mather
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/020d5470-033a-4c54-bba7-0a3814a2c156