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Regenerative medicine is a branch of translational research in tissue engineering and molecular biology which deals with the process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function. This field holds the promise of engineering damaged tissues and organs by stimulating the body's own repair mechanisms to functionally heal previously irreparable tissues or organs. Regenerative medicine also includes the possibility of growing tissues and organs in the laboratory and implanting them when the body cannot heal itself. If a regenerated organ's cells would be derived from the patient's own tissue or cells, this would potentially solve the problem of the shortage of organs available for donation, and the problem of organ transplant rejection.
The loss or failure of an organ or tissue is one of the most frequent, devastating, and costly problems in human health care. A new field, tissue engineering, applies the principles of biology and engineering to the development of functional substitutes for damaged tissue. Tissue engineering is the use of a combination of cells, engineering and materials methods, and suitable biochemical and physicochemical factors to improve or replace biological tissues. Tissue engineering involves the use of a tissue scaffold for the formation of new viable tissue for a medical purpose. Tissue engineering covers a broad range of applications with applications that repair or replace portions of or whole tissues like bone, cartilage, blood vessels, bladder, skin, muscle etc.
Translational medicine is a rapidly growing discipline in biomedical research and aims to expedite the discovery of new diagnostic tools and treatments by using a multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative, bench-to-bedside approach. Within public health, translational medicine is focused on ensuring that proven strategies for disease treatment and prevention are actually implemented within the community. The National Institutes of Health has made a major push to fund translational medicine especially within biomedical research with a focus on cross-functional collaborations between researchers and clinicians; leveraging new technology and data analysis tools; and increasing the speed at which new treatments reach patients. The aim is to transform the translational science process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster.
Regeneration is a fascinating biological phenomenon that continues to intrigue. The study of regeneration promises to inform how adult tissues heal and rebuild themselves such that this process may someday be stimulated in a clinical setting. Although mammals are limited in their ability to regenerate closely and distantly related species alike can perform astonishing regenerative feats. Many different animals representing almost all phyla harness an innate ability to rebuild missing adult structures lost to injury. However, it is unclear which aspects of regeneration are conserved and which are unique in a given context. One aspect of regeneration that appears to be shared is the use of stem progenitor cells to replace missing tissues.
Biodegradable scaffolds play an important role in creating a 3D environment to induce tissue formation. The application of scaffolding materials together with stem cell technologies are believed to hold enormous potential for tissue regeneration. In this review, we provide an overview of application of tissue engineered scaffolds and stem cells for the development of stem cell-based engineered tissue replacements. In particular, we focus on bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) and mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs) due to their extensive clinical applications. Functional tissues require certain mechanical and structural properties; tissue engineering has aimed at performing specific biochemical functions using cells in artificial support systems. One should consider the fact that generating cell-laden tissue engineered constructs has the capability of maintaining the proliferation and differentiation activity.
Tissue Repair sometimes called healing refers to the restoration of tissue architecture and function after an injury. By convention, the term repair is often used for parenchymal and connective tissues and healing for surface epithelia. Critical to the survival of an organism is the ability to repair the damage toxic insults and inflammation Hence, the inflammatory response to microbes and injured tissues not only serves to eliminate these dangers but also sets into motion the process of repair. Repair of damaged tissues occurs by two types of reactions. One is regeneration by proliferation of residual or uninjured cells and the other is maturation of tissue stem cells deposition of connective tissue to form a scar.
Rejuvenation is a medical discipline focused on the practical reversal of the aging process. Rejuvenation is distinct from life extension. Life extension strategies often study the causes of aging and try to oppose those causes in order to slow aging. Rejuvenation is the reversal of aging and thus requires a different strategy, namely repair of the damage that is associated with aging or replacement of damaged tissue with new tissue. Rejuvenation can be a means of life extension, but most life extension strategies do not involve rejuvenation. Aging is an accumulation of damage to macromolecules, cells, tissues and organs. If any of that damage can be repaired, the result is rejuvenation.
Stem cells are biological cells that can differentiate into other types of cells and can divide to produce more of the same type of stem cells. They are found in multicellular organisms. In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all the specialized cells—ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm (see induced pluripotent stem cells but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.
Bone grafts are utilized in a wide array of clinical settings to augment bone repair and regeneration. Bone defect repair using the tissue engineering approach is perceived as a better approach because the repair process may proceeds with the patient's own tissue by the time the regeneration is complete. Currently the United States, as well as other countries worldwide, is experiencing an exceedingly high demand for functional bone grafts. Extensive studies have reported the considerable shortcomings, limitations, and complications of current clinical treatments for bone repair and regeneration; these include autologous and allogeneic transplantations using autografts and allografts. To date autografts serve as the gold standard for bone grafts because they are histocompatible and non-immunogenic, and they offer all of the imperative properties required of a bone graft material.
Bioengineering is a discipline that applies engineering principles of design and analysis to biological systems and biomedical technologies. Examples of bioengineering research include bacteria engineered to produce chemicals, new medical imaging technology, portable disease diagnostic devices, and tissue engineered organs. As a science, biomaterials are about fifty years old. A biomaterial is any substance that has been engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose either a therapeutic to treat, augment, repair or replace a tissue function of the body or a diagnostic one. It has experienced steady and strong growth over its history, with many companies investing large amounts of money into the development of new products. Biomaterials science encompasses elements of medicine, biology, chemistry, tissue engineering and materials science.
Stem-cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Bone marrow transplant is the most widely used stem-cell therapy. But some therapies derived from umbilical cord blood are also in use. Research is underway to develop various sources for stem cells as well as to apply stem-cell treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, among others. Stem-cell therapy has become controversial following developments such as the ability of scientists to isolate and culture embryonic stem cells, to create stem cells using somatic cell nuclear transfer and their use of techniques to create induced pluripotent stem cells. Additionally efforts to market treatments based on transplant of stored umbilical cord blood have been controversial.
A number of organs have the intrinsic ability to regenerate, a distinctive feature that varies among organisms. When its underlying mechanisms are unraveled, it holds tremendous therapeutic potential for humans. The study and research deals with the repair and regenerative potential of the following organs and organ systems which include thymus, adrenal gland, thyroid gland, intestine, lungs, heart, liver, blood vessels, germ cells, nervous system, eye tissues, hair cells, kidney and bladder, skin, hair follicles, pancreas, bone, and cartilage. Organ regeneration is a promising therapy that can alleviate humans from diseases that have not been yet cured. It is also superior to already existing treatments that utilize exogenous sources to substitute for the organ's lost structure and/or functions.
Cell Engineering or cellular engineering applies the principles and methods of engineering to the problems of cell and molecular biology of both a basic and applied nature. As biomedical engineering has shifted from the organ and tissue level to the cellular and sub-cellular level, cellular engineering has emerged as a new area. A cornerstone of much of this activity is cell culture technology, the ability to grow living cells in the artificial environment of a laboratory. Cellular engineering includes the role of engineering in both basic cell biology research and in the making of products which use living cells, tissue engineering and bioprocess engineering. The former involves the use of living cells in the development of biological substitutes for the restoration or replacement of function, and the latter the use of living cells to manufacture a biochemical product, e.g., through the use of recombinant DNA technology.
Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, an early-stage pre-implantation embryo. Human embryos reach the blastocyst stage 4–5 days post fertilization at which time they consist of 50–150 cells. Isolating the embryoblast, or inner cell mass (ICM) results in destruction of the blastocyst, a process raises ethical issues, whether or not embryos at the pre-implantation stage should have the same moral considerations as embryos in the post-implantation stage of development. Researchers are currently focusing heavily on the therapeutic potential of embryonic stem cells, with clinical use being the goal for many labs. These cells are being studied to be used as clinical therapies, models of genetic disorders, and cellular/DNA repair. However, adverse effects in the research and clinical processes have also been reported.
A biobank is a type of biorepository that stores biological samples usually human for use in research. Since the late 1990s biobanks have become an important resource in medical research, supporting many types of contemporary research like genomics and personalized medicine. Biobanks give researchers access to data representing a large number of people. Samples in biobanks and the data derived from those samples can often be used by multiple researchers for cross purpose research studies. Many diseases are associated with single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and performing genome-wide association studies using large collections of samples which represent tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals can help to identify disease biomarkers. Biobanks have provoked questions on privacy, research ethics and medical ethics.
Cellular and Gene Therapies related research and development in the United States continue to grow at a fast rate with a number of products advancing in clinical development. Cellular therapy products include cellular immunotherapies, cancer vaccines, and other types of both autologous and allogeneic cells for certain therapeutic indications, including hematopoetic stem cells and adult and embryonic stem cells. Human gene therapy is the administration of genetic material to modify or manipulate the expression of a gene product or to alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use. Human gene therapy is the administration of genetic material to modify or manipulate the expression of a gene product or to alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use.
In recent years, regenerative medicine market has emerged with promising approaches to treat complicated degenerative disorders as well as to support & restore the function of tissues and cells in other therapies. Rising prevalence of neurodegenerative, orthopedic, oncology, and genetic diseases coupled with advances in gene therapy, tissue engineering, and nanotechnology to support regenerative therapies are expected to boost revenue growth. The global regenerative medicines market is generally dominated by the global orthopedic and wound biologics companies. However, depending on the geographical areas the market of these players varies accordingly. Efficient distribution networks, product differentiation and supply competency play a major role in determining the market position of such players. Majority of these players are focusing on expanding distribution network as well as expanding presence across the nations.