Regenerative medicine is a promising field of science.
The increasing ability to engineer cells to our therapeutic advantage is creating a new type of platform for curing disease. Scientists have only begun scratching the surface, yet regenerative medicine — the ability to use cells for therapeutic improvement — will revolutionize healthcare. Here are a few of these incredible advancements.
Spinal Cord Neuron Repair
The brain and its associated systems are arguably the most complex of the body. Neural cells have been created from stem cells in a number of pioneering studies with extremely promising results. From spinal cord injury to Parkinson’s disease, the versatility of regenerative medicine strategies for nervous system repair are flourishing. Human trials are ongoing.
The largest organ of the body is also one of the most accessible – the skin that surrounds and protects our entire body. Some of the earliest and most successful examples in regenerative medicine come from the growth of skin cells used as a treatment for a variety of skin-related diseases and injuries.
Giving Sight to the Blind
The eye is an especially attractive first target for stem cell-based regenerative medicine strategies. Researchers have created sheets of retinal cells from iPS cells and transplanted them into the eyes of a patient with promising results.
The 3D Printed Heart
One of the most exciting early-stage research avenues for regenerative medicine is the creation of entire new organs custom-built for individuals. Teams have recently 3D printed hearts using only human cells. It is achievements like these that are ushering in a new era of organ-level therapeutics.
Differences between young and old cells matter
Despite the incredible self-organizing, self-renewing nature of cells, their systems age and break down over time. Those effects are felt all the way up through tissues and organs. As a result of the effects of age, when we need our cells the most they are at their worst. Younger cells, we know, have the highest therapeutic capability. No wonder: none of the accumulated cellular damage exists to limit their potential.
ACORN COLLECTS PLUCKED HAIR
When you pluck hair from your head, the follicles contain a valuable cluster of cells. Many of the most exciting regenerative medicine strategies rely on our ability to use growing cells and stem cells.
The Hair Follicle
Plucked hair follicles are an excellent, therapeutically-capable source of viable cells containing proliferative multipotent cells exceptionally capable of growing consistently in the lab. That makes them a valuable healthcare resource.