This is an exclusive interview with Joseph Krieger, President of Boston Biolife. Boston BioLife is an innovative organization that presents workshops for physicians and scientists to educate them about novel advances in regenerative medicine. Its training programs are characterized by using both didactic and interactive, “hands-on” approaches, which physicians can get ACCME accreditation for attending.
Boston Biolife’s next event will be “Hands–On Stem Cell Therapies and Biologics for the Clinical Application of Pain Management” in Boston, MA, on July 16-17, 2016.
To learn more, enjoy the full interview with Joseph Krieger below.
Interview with Joseph Krieger of Boston Biolife
QUESTION 1. What is your background and how did you get involved with Boston BioLife?
Joseph Krieger: I have Masters Degree in Biochemistry from Boston University Medical School and a BS in Biochemistry from University of Massachusetts. My educational background is focused heavily on tissue cultures, cytokines, growth factors and extracellular matrices. After graduating from Boston University, I was hired as a Product Manager by a Medical Device Manufacturer based out of Burlington, Massachusetts. I managed worldwide sales for their radiofrequency (RF) ablation devices. The product was used in many areas, but was most well recognized for its uses in Cardiology, Oncology, Neurosurgery & Pain management.
The RF technology represented a huge leap forward at that time compared to conventional surgical techniques and it continues to be used around the world today. In an effort to facilitate the adaptation of RF in different medical markets, I created hands-on training programs for physicians, nurses and various sales reps and began running medical education courses across the nation.
I found that my scientific education assisted in my ability to communicate with doctors on a very high level. As a result, I was able to translate information from various key opinion leaders and administer very specific course content. My educational programs inevitably incorporated and involved many additional medical company’s products and exposed a variety of technologies to a large number of health care providers. Over the next 17 years, I designed and coordinated hundreds of hand-on training programs in minimally invasive surgical markets. These programs were directly responsible for massive paradigm shifts in technology adaptation by physicians and medical specialists from 1993- 2010. Ultimately, medical imaging, software engineering, and new surgical innovations drove medical markets to perform less and less invasive procedures, and provide the patient with better medical options and outcomes.
In thinking about the creation of Boston BioLife – I began to consider what may be the next logical innovations with regard to current medical markets. I realized that life sciences technologies would be the future of health care. I also wanted to consider incorporating my biochemistry background in my future business. Having been born and raised in Massachusetts, my Boston location has always lent itself to the most world renowned innovation, research, and medical facilities, yet I recognized that there is a huge gap in the awareness of emerging life sciences technologies and their potential impact in clinical medicine and patient care. It was then that I founded Boston BioLife and decided to reignite my experience in medical training. However, this time, I decided to focus in teaching translational medicine techniques to physicians.
By finding and promoting innovations that are undiscovered in the lab or new to the market and providing a forum that allows the introduction of new technology and science to the physician I realized that I am able to provide an opportunity for the physician to further patient care in the most relevant, current, and sophisticated uses. It is called, “Bench to Bedside”, meaning finding and promoting new innovation(s) that may be found in the lab and introducing this information to the physician. Showing the physician what the technology is and how it may be relevant coupled with possible uses in their clinical field using biological science techniques and how it can directly benefit their patient’s well-being.
QUESTION 2. What year was Boston BioLife founded and what was involved in founding the company?
Joseph Krieger: Boston BioLife was founded in July of 2015. The establishment of the company was fairly straightforward. We are a provider of educational resources so we don’t have a lot of need for “bricks-and-mortar” infrastructure. The premises of my company is to facilitate the understanding of life sciences technologies in clinical medicine. The most challenging aspect of developing Boston BioLife was trying to create content that was compelling and applicable to clinical medicine. This took research into various life sciences technologies and the understanding of the potential impact in medical applications. My initial focus was in nano-medicine and its ability to fabricate mechanical and biological devices on an atomic scale. Upon investigation into the clinical uses of nano-medicine, I discovered the concept of translational medicine and began to explore the challenges that faced research clinicians and their ability to reach patients in need. Another important component of founding our company is to portray the essence of new and emerging life so that’s why our logo is a leaf enveloping DNA.
QUESTION 3. What is Boston BioLife’s involvement with clinical applications of stem cells?
Joseph Krieger: Our involvement in the clinical applications of stem cells is really centered around the scientific components and mechanisms of action of various cells, cytokines, and growth factors . We are focused on stem cell identity, origin, biological activity, and the current roles stem cells are taking part in medical applications as well as their potential for future applications.
We put heavy emphasis on the fundamentals of life sciences in Regenerative Medicine, as well as cellular biochemistry. It is our goal to facilitate, understand, and appreciate how Regenerative Medicine works in clinical applications, the potential outcomes, as well as the different sources of biologics. I feel that it is very important to constantly be aware of new innovations and their possible applications. I fully recognize the important role that stem cells play in Regenerative Medicine today and their continued advancement for immeasurable results in the very near future.
QUESTION 4. What are other regenerative approaches covered by Boston BioLife?
Joseph Krieger: We believe in the introduction and examination of all resources in Regenerative Medicine. Therefore, in addition to stem cells, we are looking at the role of other regenerative medicine components such as cytokines, growth factors, enzymes, and proteins and their potential impact on biological activity. This includes platelet rich plasma, bone marrow aspiration concentrate, adipose, amniotic fluid, placental membrane derivatives as well patient derived proteins and enzymes such as fibrin and alpha-2 macroglobulin (A2M). By researching these different sources of cells, cytokines, growth factors and other important cellular materials, I feel that we are able to give the physician the best opportunities to understand a variety of outcomes and show the potential of these outcomes so that they may be used to help their patients and advance medicine.
QUESTION 5. How does Boston BioLife educate doctors and clinicians about stem cell applications?
Joseph Krieger: The educational model used by Boston BioLife is to train and educate physicians in a very interactive and “boutique-like” setting. Our courses are taught by leading physicians and scientists that are forefront in Regenerative and Translational Medicine. The faculty that teach our courses have been trained by, and currently work with elite establishments and world-renowned research institutions from across the nation. It is our goal to provide to our attendees with didactic and hands-on training over a two-day program. I feel that it is important that our attendees have an opportunity for one-to-one collegial interaction with our faculty as well as learning industry involvement and to meet the associated organizations. My ultimate goal is to offer an opportunity for advancing the physician’s patient outcome(s) and future practice.
QUESTION 6. What trends are you seeing in point-of-care applications for stem cells?
Joseph Krieger: I see several trends in point-of-care applications for stem cells. The biggest trend that I see is the potential of personalized compounding. Meaning, combining various autologous derived stem cells, growth factors, and proteins and mixing them together in a custom way in a patient-specific basis.
I also see autologous sources of stem cells such as adipose and bone marrow concentration being further developed and used in combination with other products like amniotic fluid as well as the use of protein derivatives from blood such as fibrin to form custom technologies that can be applied to a multitude of anatomical areas for advanced healing.
I see that physicians who have been involved in Regenerative Medicine for the past 10 years have adopted their practices to incorporate stem cells and biologics but are not working exclusively with them. I believe that for whatever surgical procedure in musculoskeletal medicine there is a biological corollary.
The notion of bio banking and genetic testing will further evolve so that there is a more precise and scientific approach to the qualification and validation of each patient sample so that it’s intended uses are achieved. I believe that one of the best ways to do this is through a combination of high resolution image based software in conjunction with a rapid assay to give the clinician a specific value on the sample collected and its potential to be biologically active.
New technologies are being derived on a regular basis that are making it easier for physicians to implement laboratory practices in their clinics. The evolution of GMP and protocol development will further add quality standards to the point of care component.
QUESTION 7. Why did you choose to focus on pain management applications?
Joseph Krieger: I have worked in interventional pain management for 25 years. I created and facilitated hands-on image-guided courses focused in percutaneous needle placement for Anesthesiologists and Pain Management Physicians that were interested in adopting new procedures for their patient practice.
Pain management and musculoskeletal applications have been implemented for quite some time. Although not mainstream at this point, there is a history that is probably greater than any other area in stem cell science. I believe that the musculoskeletal component for Regenerative Medicine has the clearest pathway to unencumbered development with a huge potential benefit.
It has been found that lower back pain is the # 2 reason why people go to the doctor. Literally billions of dollars are spent on lost productivity, revenue, cost of care, and there also is a rampant addiction and overdose epidemic. I believe that by educating physicians using Regenerative Medicine applications for pain in Sports Medicine, Physical Medicine, and Orthopedic Medicine. We can diversify within these specialties and greatly reduce the issues currently affecting patients with a variety of pain issues.
QUESTION 8. What are your perspectives on the current FDA regulations of stem cells and other biologics?
Joseph Krieger: I believe that the FDA perspective and current regulatory positions are fair, accurate and necessary, because these new technologies have never been explored before and their applications are varied. I can imagine that it is difficult for the FDA to truly wrap their minds around all of the potential scenarios. The standards of safety and quality need to be maintained in an effort to truly see the benefit of these technologies. I think that we all are aware of certain technologies which have not been exercised with the highest level of safety and quality. It is suffice to say that these companies and their products have contributed negatively and have been a disservice to various industries making getting what is seemingly obvious approvals almost impossible. Biological medicine is extremely complicated.
Trying to understand all of the possible interactions and cascades that may happen on a patient-specific basis very difficult. I think having safety strategies, protocols, and methods to standardize these pathways can only benefit the industry in the long run as well as better serve all patients.
QUESTION 9. What is the current threat or opportunity for doctors practicing regenerative medicine?
Joseph Krieger: I think one of the most threatening scenarios for Regenerative Medicine is poor information and lack of technical awareness. The biochemistry of Regenerative Medicine is very complicated and many Physicians have not had an extensive level of RM education in medical school. Past education that was provided with regard to Regenerative Medicine could very possibly be obsolete as findings and approaches are ever evolving.
The Ph.D.s and Researchers that we use to teach our programs have decades of experience in a laboratory settings and relevant research. Understanding something as complicated as Regenerative Medicine takes time and dedication. Although it seems simple to say that we can pull cells from our body, combine them with other things and as a result they may have a positive benefit – what we need to know is that if things are not done properly, and without the appropriate understanding of the science, then the outcomes will not be the desired outcomes and may be harmful to the patient.
I think that the best opportunities for Regenerative Medicine are through physicians that are willing to further their education. There is a lot of research that is being done to support findings in regenerative practices and this research provides new perspectives for clinical applications. Like all medical advancement and change – eventually, physicians have enough knowledge and proven results that they are then are willing and able to implement their knowledge into their practices for better results for their patients. Patients also become more aware of the potential from new practices and ask for treatments from their physicians in hopes of a better results.
QUESTION 10. What are your three to five-year goals for Boston BioLife?
Joseph Krieger: The fundamental premise for Boston BioLife is to facilitate translational medicine from the laboratory to the clinic. I believe that there is a lot of opportunity, not only in Regenerative Medicine,but in all laboratory sciences. We believe that we have a medical education training model that works. The combination of scientific professionals in conjunction with clinical practitioners can create greater awareness and insight, increasing the potential for new technologies to reach the clinic and betterment of patient care.
Going forward I do see opportunities in various other medical markets as being potential areas that we could grow into. The international markets are also very attractive and we’ve been asked to plan programs in Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America.
Our true…number one goal, first and foremost, is to always deliver quality content that is derived from accurate research that is supported by regulatory policy and that encompasses patient safety. We focus on this intently so that physicians are able to implement the best techniques and deliver the best care for their patients. If we are able to obtain our goals and objectives and apply them at our courses for our attendees, I feel that we have offered the best educational experience for anyone that attends a Boston BioLife course.
QUESTION 11. How can others get in touch with you or at end Boston BioLife events?
Joseph Krieger: The easiest way to get in touch with me is via my email, which is, [email protected]. I may also be reached via phone 978-604-2528.
All of our courses are listed on our website: www.bostonbiolife.com. We are always evolving and we encourage people to visit our website to see ‘What’s New’. After our recent course in March, we had 7,500 ‘tweets’ – Find us on Twitter, @BostonBioLife.
We also have an active Users Group on LinkedIn called Boston BioLife where we publish and post new ideas and topics that we cover in a discussion forum. We have just launched a customized media campaign on FaceBook, find us on our Boston BioLife page.
As I mentioned, we add new topics, faculty, and exhibitors to every course. We do this in an effort to facilitate the most up-to-date training, education in life sciences. I am consistently looking for new information and applicable technologies. If people have an idea for a program I am open to discussing opportunities, and partnerships. We like to work with organizations that support our same goals and missions. We support companies that are developing new technologies as they facilitate their involvement with patients in their clinics.
I would like to thank you very much Cade for giving me an opportunity to share my opinion on the market as it relates to stem cells and regenerative medicine. I would like to express my gratitude to you and that of BioInformant for your interest in learning more about Boston BioLife.
BioInformant is the first and only market research firm to specialize exclusively in the stem cell industry. BioInformant research has been cited by major news outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Nature Biotechnology, Medical Ethics, Vogue Magazine, and more. Serving Fortune 500 leaders that include GE Healthcare, Pfizer, and Goldman Sachs, BioInformant is your global leader in stem cell industry data.