Home About the AFIRM & RCCC Index

About the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine

The US Department of Defense established the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine in 2008.  AFIRM’s mission is to develop new products and therapies to treat severe injuries suffered by US service members in the current wars. The concept of regenerative medicine -- in its simplest form -- is to replace or regenerate human cells, tissues or organs, to restore normal function.

With the increase in complex, life-threatening injuries among our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, regenerative medicine has become a priority for military medical research and development. The need for advanced technologies is now more pressing than ever as service members become victims to severe blast injuries, often losing limbs and suffering severe burns.

The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan has caused a marked increase in severe blast trauma, now responsible for approximately 75 percent of all injuries, according to the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. Because of better body armor, quicker evacuation from the battlefield and advanced medical care, many of the injured survive. But, they may face the challenge of overcoming severe limb, head, face and burn injuries that can take years to treat and usually result in significant lifelong impairment.


The AFIRM teams, working in research laboratories and clinics across the country, are advancing biological therapies (including adult stem cells and growth factors), tissue and biomaterials engineering, and advanced transplantation methods. These new treatments will enable the body to repair, replace, restore and regenerate damaged tissues and organs. These products and therapies will become available to civilian trauma and burn patients as well.

How is AFIRM organized?

AFIRM comprises the Rutgers-Cleveland Clinic Consortium and the Wake Forest-Pittsburgh Consortium, two large academic-clinical consortiums spanning more than 30 institutions and several dozen companies.  The US Army Institute of Surgical Research serves as the military intramural partner for AFIRM. The US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) directs the entire enterprise, fostering synergies among the current partners and accelerating progress toward urgently needed therapeutic goals.  These targets are: Limb Salvage and Repair, Facial Reconstruction, Burn Repair, Scarless Wound Repair, and Compartment Syndrome Repair.

For more information: http://www.afirm.mil/