Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Regenerative Medicine: A Growing Future: Imagine a World Where You Could Heal a Wound without Scarring, Where Mind-Degenerating Disorders Don't Exist, and No One Waits on a Transplant List

Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Regenerative Medicine: A Growing Future: Imagine a World Where You Could Heal a Wound without Scarring, Where Mind-Degenerating Disorders Don't Exist, and No One Waits on a Transplant List

Article excerpt

Regenerative medicine is one of the most promising areas of biotechnology, offering the prospect of developing new therapies with the potential to restore lost, damaged, or aging cells, tissues, and organs in the human body. Regenerative medicine is a field that has developed in part as a response to overcome the shortage of organ donors suitable for transplantation. The use of stem cells in this dynamic field of regenerative medicine has generated excitement among scientists and researchers, along with scrutiny from governments and public watchdog organizations and controversy from citizens and institutions with moral and ethical concerns that surround this controversial area of science. Research on stem cells is rapidly advancing knowledge about how an organism develops from a single cell and how these healthy cells can be used to replace damaged cells. Stem cells are one of the most fascinating areas of biotechnology today and, like many expanding fields of scientific inquiry, research and application therapies developed raise scientific and ethical questions as rapidly as they generate new discoveries. Scientists around the globe are researching various types of stem cells for their enormous potential to regenerate lost tissue, thereby revolutionizing the treatment of a variety of diseases. With greater insight into the structural and behavioral characteristics of living tissues, researchers are designing and creating new living tissues and organs to replace those that are diseased.

What Is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine is a multidisciplinary field involving nanotechnology, biology, materials science, and chemical engineering. Regenerative medicine is focused on repairing and replacing damaged cells, tissues, and organs. Often this involves harnessing the power of stem cells, which can renew themselves and differentiate into many other cell types. The foundation of regenerative medicine for either therapeutic or diagnostic applications is the ability to exploit living cells in a variety of ways. Scientific research is working to develop treatments that are founded on the concept of producing new cells to replace malfunctioning or damaged cells as a vehicle to treat disease and injury and to make them available for clinical use. Unlike traditional treatment modalities, regenerative medicine products harness the body's own ability to self-repair and thus adapt to the physiology of the body. Much like how sod implanted into a bed of grass eventually merges with the preexisting grass, the body may also ultimately incorporate or remodel the tissue regeneration product into itself (Organgenesis, 2008). The focus of the research is the development of effective methods to generate replacement cells from stem cells. Treatments include both in vivo and in vitro procedures. In vivo means that cell therapy treatments are performed inside the body in order to stimulate previously irreparable organs to heal themselves, while in vitro treatments are applied to the body through implantation of cells developed in the laboratory (McGowan, 2007). Regenerative medicine has the potential to cure failing tissues and organs, not just provide treatments. Doctors use regenerative medicine to speed up healing and to help injuries that will not heal or repair on their own. Regenerative medicine may help broken bones, severe burns, chronic wounds, heart damage, nerve damage, and many other diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Innovative regenerative medicine therapies are now available that are designed to heal or reconstruct diseased tissue and support the regeneration of diseased or injured organs. In the twenty-first century, regenerative medicine products utilizing multipotent (these stem cells can grow into some tissues but not all tissues) stem cells may render obsolete many current drug and medical interventions (Organgenesis, 2008).

Stem Cells

Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. …

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