Applications of regenerative medicine technology may offer novel therapies for patients with injuries, end-stage organ failure, or other clinical problems. Currently, patients suffering from diseased and injured organs can be treated with transplanted organs. However, there is a severe shortage of donor organs that is worsening yearly as the population ages and new cases of organ failure increase. Scientists in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering are now applying the principles of cell transplantation, material science, and bioengineering to construct biological substitutes that will restore and maintain normal function in diseased and injured tissues. The stem cell field is also advancing rapidly, opening new avenues for this type of therapy. For example, therapeutic cloning and cellular reprogramming may one day provide a potentially limitless source of cells for tissue engineering applications. While stem cells are still in the research phase, some therapies arising from tissue engineering endeavors have already entered the clinical setting successfully, indicating the promise regenerative medicine holds for the future.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.