Some information about Regea – what, where, and how?

To get a clear idea about our project, it is important to understand the company we are doing it for, of course. And that is exactly what you are going to read in this blog.

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Regea Cell and Tissue Center is a clinical tissue bank located in Tampere. It’s part of the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Tampere. The bank procures, processes and supplies different kinds of tissue transplants for clinical use: bones, tendons, amniotic membranes and corneas. Regea also produces adipose tissue derived stem cell products.

Tissue transplants are used for various illnesses and injuries. The donation procedure starts with an initial screening of the donor. The suitability for tissue donation is based on the potential donor’s medical and social background, and he/she must also be screened for certain infectious diseases.

Next, the procurement is undertaken by Regea’s specialist procurement teams in the hospital or mortuary depending on the tissue in question. The tissue transplants are immediately stored in specific temperature for each tissue type: for example +31°C for cornea or -80°C for bones and tendons.

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Bone and tendon transplants don’t need further processing after procurement and they can be stored up to 5 years. Corneal and amniotic membrane transplants undergo a specific process before they can be released for clinical use. Processing of the cornea can take up to 30 days after which it can be preserved for maximum of 5 days before the transplantation surgery.

Processing and storing tissues at the tissue bank ensures that the tissues stay intact and can be taken out when there’s need for a certain tissue in a hospital. This is a difference between tissue and organ transplants, as organ donation must happen immediately whereas tissues can be used within a considerably longer period of time.

Regea makes sure that tissues are distributed to the hospital where they are needed. Regea uses a database to coordinate necessary information, such as the availability of tissues. Also the procurement, testing, processing, storage and allocation of tissues is based on this database. That’s how Regea knows exactly how many tissues to have in stock in order to help as many people as possible.

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The Regea team consists of 15 employees that work very hard to help as much people as possible in need. Most of the employees work in the laboratory. During our project, Sari, Tiia and Jukka are helping us with the necessary support and information needed for our Demola project.

Regea is a high quality tissue bank that cooperates with a lot of different hospitals. There is so much knowledge in the bank, and we have been learning so much by working together with them during this Demola project. Thanks to Regea, the quality of many lives have been improved!

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The project so far – jams, tendons and Tinder dates

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Starting with a Demola project is like a box of chocolate. A box wrapped in duct tape, that is. You know every piece is going to taste so good but it’s such a pain to get the box open.

That being said, I think we have finally found our way through the duct tape and getting started with that Demola chocolate. It has required multiple ”so, what was it again that we’re actually doing here” type of questions, countless meetings, brainstorming, Google documents and one visit to Regea’s laboratory in Kauppi. Although now that I think about, most of these have in fact been pralines too.

So far we have done quite a bit of research about organ donation campaigns and conducted a small survey to screen the current situation in our target group. I can’t wait to get started with the actual concept developing with this good base. We have weekly project team meetings at the New Factory (bonus points for the free coffee). That’s when we think of our strategy, throw in ideas and share information we’ve found. Quite often our facilitator Ohad joins in and brings along his brilliant ideas and the voice of experience.

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Sari from Regea telling us more about different transplant processes.

Every second week we meet with Regea’s representants Sari, Tiia and Jukka to discuss where we are going and what we plan to do next. They are very passionate about the importance of organ donations and it’s highly motivating to work with them on the topic.

A few weeks ago we met exceptionally at Regea in Kauppi for a playbook meeting. There we focused on the core ideas of the project by using the business model canvas. The most interesting part of the visit happened after official meeting though, when Sari showed us their laboratory and told about the hands-on work in Regea. We learnt for example that the achilles tendon can be used as a tendon transplant anywhere in the body and that cornea can be donated by up to 83-year old. You certainly learn new things in a Demola project.

Besides these project meetings and the work we do at home, there are also workshops and jams organized by Demola. These events don’t only help with figuring out how to approach the projects in general, but they also provide for inspiration that lasts for days. For example in the last jam event we did some sh*tty prototyping and learnt that innovating is kind of like Tinder – you might be dating some really nice guy but don’t stop looking for alternative options.

So, that’s a glimpse of what we have been doing the past month. Things are starting to get serious soon as we get to test some ideas in action. Stay tuned!

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Rule IX – the most important thing to remember at the New Factory.