Regenerative Medicine entails replacing tissue or organs that sustained damage through disease, trauma, or even congenital issues, instead of various types of current medical practices that entail treating the symptoms. The tools utilized within this field are as follows:
• Tissue Engineering;
• Cellular Therapies;
• Medical Devices;
• Artificial Organs, et al.
Combining the different medical approaches might enhance our natural healing process in the places where it is required the most. Or even it assumes the function of a permanently damagedorgan. As Regenerative Medicine is a relatively new field, it has been bringing together experts in the different Science & Developmental streams, including Biology, Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Genetics, Robotics, Medicine, and other related fields. Together, experts from multiple select fields are working to find solutions to challenging the numerous medical problems humans face in the current context.
Current Regenerative Medicine Practices
Our bodies naturally respond to injuries or infections. Indeed, our bodies easily recognize the need to heal and defend. Regenerative Medicine gives us ample opportunity to harness the body’s power to accelerate the healing process. This promising field might provide insight into restoring the structure and function of damaged tissues and organs. It might even be able to address the permanently damaged organs too. Regenerative Medicine is the future for curing previously untreatable injuries and diseases. That is what makes it unique and distinct.
The current concentrations in this field are:
- Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials:
Tissue Engineering refers to the use of biologically compatible scaffolds implanted in the body where new tissue is to be formed. The scaffold would be in the geometric shape of the tissue that requires generation. It then attracts cells, leading to further tissue growth in the desired shape. During the formation of this new tissue, if it is subjected to exercise, it could lead to a new functional engineered issue. Despite this field being in its infancy, millions of patients have been treated through this method. Most cases so far have been soft tissue regeneration.
- Cellular Therapies:
Every human being has millions of adult stem cells through which the body repairs itself. If they are harvested and injected at the damaged or diseased tissue site, it might also be possible to reconstruct those tissues. Such cells can be derived from fat, blood, bone marrow, skeletal muscle, dental pulp or cord blood etc. Scientists and clinicians are currently delved into the works to improve their ability to ready harvested stem cells for injection into patients with diseased or damaged tissues.
- Medical Devices and Artificial Organs:
Usually, if an organ fails, the predominant medical response is to transplant a replacement organ provided by a donor. The issue is finding donor organs and that donors are required to take immunosuppression drugs with the side effects if any. In many cases, doctors are also needed to find an interim strategy to support the failing organ before finding a suitable transplantable organ for a particular patient.
For example, there are technologies in different stages of maturity within circulatory support. Initially, Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) were used to bridge a heart transplant. However, now VADs are usually used for long-term circulatory support. Scientists and clinicians worldwide are also working tirelessly to develop methods and evaluation devices that can supplement or replace the function of our various organ systems such as the heart, lung, liver and kidney.
Recent Developments and Implications of Regenerative Medicine
Several recent developments within Regenerative Medicine are already leaving a significant impact. These developments will have implications on the future use of Regenerative Medicine as a treatment option. They are as follows:
- Nanogels are being explored for drug delivery. However, they need to be further explored within the tissue engineering field. Regenerative Medicine requires controlled delivery of growth factors and other active substances to encourage cell adhesion, guide cell differentiation and form tissue. Nanogels could be potentially added to tissue scaffolds for modifying the inner architecture, texture and mechanical properties.
It is key to cell behaviour regulation. As nanogels are still a relatively new field, it could bring together different researchers to work in active ingredient formulation, nano-mechanics, controlled release, tissue engineering and scaffolding. Together, they could develop medically and clinically relevant tools to fully regenerate complex tissues.
- Cellular-based therapies have been gaining increasing attention as they have great promise in their approach towards treating incurable diseases and specific injuries. For such cases, injectable cell delivery systems might be fruitful in actualizing the therapeutically beneficial outcomes of cell-based therapeutic products. Many clinical uses have been found for these systems. Most recent studies in this field have addressed the need to develop injectable bio-constructs to protect transplanted cells during delivery and the stimulation of endogenous regeneration through interactions of these cells with the host tissue.
However, this field requires more research, especially studies based on the new technologies for the injectable cell-based product for cell delivery and its clinical applications.
- Regenerative Medicine is vast and possesses many approaches to healing such as Cell-tissue Therapeutics, Stem Cell Therapy, Natural Killer (NK) Cell Therapy, Exosomes, Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T Cell Therapy, and tissue products. With the spread of Covid-19, it became increasingly important to find treatment methods. It was discovered that Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have the power to reduce inflammatory symptoms and protect one against cytokine storm, which is one of the main contributors to the Covid-19 progression. Hence, the ability to exert cytotoxic effects on infected cells and initiate interferon production implies promising results in Covid-19 Cell Therapy for NK cells. After all, exosomes are essential cells that can offer therapeutic effects by inducing immune responses and neutralizing the antibody titers.
The Need to Understand the Power of Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative Medicine is a powerful field that can transform the entire healthcare scape and treatment, such as heart disease, diabetes, and emphysema. This field amalgamates various specially grown cells, tissues, and laboratory-made compounds to substitute or enhance the body’s natural healing course. This field is continually growing and maturing, but many challenges remain. These obstacles include finding the best cell source, suitable biomaterials, and reliable cell expansion and growth methods in a three-dimensional environment.