The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine - Generating Hope

Friday August 17, 2012

What is it?

Regenerative Medicine -in its simplest form- is the ability to replace or regenerate human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish a persons' normal function. The DoD established the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) in 2008 with support and funding by Veterans Health Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the American public to make regenerative medicine a reality for our severely wounded and injured U.S. service men and women.

What has the Army done?

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC) directs the AFRIM program, facilitates synergies among current partners and remains open to collaborations with new partners to accelerate progress toward urgently needed therapeutic goals. AFIRM clinical trials are currently underway by a world-class group of engineers, scientists and clinicians to enroll patients to evaluate methods and technologies to repair muscle, treat burns, reduce scars, or even transplant the face or hands of a person severely wounded or injured due to debilitating, disabling or disfiguring injuries or burns.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

Advances in body armor, increasingly efficient evacuations from the battlefield and medical technologies resulting from AFIRM clinical trials to treat burns, repair muscles and regrow bones and skin to repair damaged tissues, are helping our most severely injured and wounded to rehabilitate, recover and return to active service or transition with the help our Warrior Transition Units and the Department of Veterans Affairs to productive lives as civilians.

Why is it important to the Army?

The use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan has caused an increase in severe blast trauma and complex, life-threatening injuries for our service men and women. Regenerative Medicine is a priority for the Army and the DoD medical research and development programs. The burgeoning field of Regenerative Medicine also offers our severely wounded and injured service members and their families hope in restoring the structure and function of damaged tissues and treatment for previously untreatable injuries and diseases. Tissue regeneration, bone scaffolding and stem cell-enabled treatments no longer exist only in the minds of persons who read or write science fiction, but are now a tangible reality for those whose service, dedication and sacrifice are the strength of our Army and the nation.


AFIRM Web site

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"After three NIEs, the Army has a better understanding of industry's core competencies in developing technologies that can incrementally improve the network and we are targeting those specific competencies as we move into NIE 13.1 and 13.2. The partnership between government and industry in contributing technologies to the NIE has put the Army on a solid path to more targeted upgrades, allowing us to quickly integrate emerging capabilities into the CS 14 baseline."

- Brig. Gen. Daniel Hughes, director of Army System of Systems Integration

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What They're Saying

"My favorite time of the day is at 2330 when Taps plays over the speaker in the hallway. For those 20 seconds or so all I think about are the men who have fallen fighting for this country. One day it will play at my funeral and when it does, I pray that I am deserving enough of that honor and the respect that it shows."

- 1st Lt. Timothy Steele, whose memorial was the conclusion of the Steel Challenge during West Point's Cadet Basic Training

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