Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Therapy Laboratory

The Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Therapy Laboratory performs research with an emphasis on the investigation of the mechanisms governing immune responses to medical implants (also called as foreign body reactions).

By applying knowledge obtained from basic research work, Dr. Liping Tang and his group have launched studies to develop novel strategies for improving the safety of medical devices while developing new treatment strategies for a variety of diseases. The majority of the research is translational and interdisciplinary with broad impact on basic sciences, as well as medical and engineering research.

Dr. Tang has extensive experience working with both engineers and medical scientists. He has worked at UTA for the past 15 years. In addition, he worked at several medical schools (Baylor College of Medicine and Albany Medical College) for eight years before joining the joint graduate program between UTA and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he has also worked for the past 15 years. This interdisciplinary experience has allowed him to quickly identify potential engineering solutions for clinical challenges. His laboratory has a long history of collaborating with engineers and physicians and applying engineering knowledge to create novel solutions for various clinical challenges.

Personnel

Liping Tang, Ph.D., Lab Director

Research

The Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Therapy Laboratory has discovered and established many new technologies, including:

New therapy for combating metastasic cancer

Cancer metastasis is the major cause of cancer lethality. However, there is no specific treatment to reduce cancer metastasis. His group's recent studies have revealed that several chemokines are essential for cancer cell spreading. By incorporating these newly identified factors with scaffolds, Dr. Tang has invented a “cancer trap” implant that can recruit and eliminate circulating metastatic cancer cells in animals. This new invention has proven to be effective in extending the life-span of cancer bearing animals by at least 20%. This approach has shown to be effective in case of melanoma, leukemia and prostate cancer. The development of the cancer trap is currently funded by an Idea Development Award from the Department of Defense. A patent application and several international patent applications to cover this technology have been recently submitted and sponsored by UTA.

Novel microscaffolds for triggering autologous stem cell-derived tissue regeneration

Many diseases or injuries are often associated with or caused by the loss of tissues. Although tissue/organ transplantations can be done, availability of donated organs/tissuesis very limited. Tissue engineering technology has made great progress in recent years to regenerate body parts by isolating and then placing patients’ stem cells inside and around porous scaffolds (tissue constructs). The cell-seeded constructs are then grown in the bioreactors in the laboratory for a few weeks/months until transplantation into patients. The cell isolation, seeding, and culturing procedures are expensive and time consuming which severely limits the implementation of tissue engineering technology at the bedside. By integrating different stem cell factors inside the porous scaffolds, a new and patent-pending invention developed by his laboratory allows the production of cell-free scaffolds which can be placed at the diseased tissue to recruit and differentiate patients’ own stem cells and regenerate tissue at the diseased site. Dr. Tang has recently been awarded a million dollar grant by the Department of Defense to make use of this innovative technology to treat post-traumatic osteoarthritis in soldiers by using their own stem cells that would be recruited around a minimally invasive smart microscaffold injection.

New imaging tools

Almost all medical device developments rely on the use of animal models to assess immune reactions to implants which are expensive and time consuming. To overcome such challenges, Dr. Tang’s laboratory has recently invented a new imaging technology platform which permits a real time monitoring of foreign body reactions. This system will expedite the development of safe and effective medical implants. The contribution of this work is widely recognized. As a result of this recognition, he has been invited to present this work and to give keynote speeches at many international conferences, including the Society for Biomaterials, Biomedical Engineering Society, American Heart Association, and Meeting of the Scandinavian Society for Biomaterials. This work was supported by two NIH SBIR grants.

 ∧