If a lizard can regenerate its tail back, if a snail can grow its head back, then why can’t a human grow any of its organs back?
Based on this theory, scientists have been long trying to re grow human tissues and organs. Many research and findings are under progress.
The science of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function is called – ‘Regenerative medicine’.
Regenerative medicine is a game-changing area of medicine
Regenerative medicine is a game-changing area of medicine with the potential to fully heal damaged tissues and organs, offering solutions and hope for people who have conditions that today are beyond repair.
Regenerative medicine itself isn’t new — the first bone marrow and solid-organ transplants were done decades ago. But advances in developmental and cell biology, immunology, and other fields have unlocked new opportunities to refine existing regenerative therapies and develop novel ones.
The Center for Regenerative Medicine takes three interrelated approaches:
- Rejuvenation. Rejuvenation means boosting the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Though after a cut your skin heals within a few days, other organs don’t repair themselves as readily.
But cells in the body once thought to be no longer able to divide (terminally differentiated) — including the highly specialized cells constituting the heart, lungs and nerves — have been shown to be able to remodel and possess some ability to self-heal. Teams within the center are studying how to enhance self-healing processes.
- Replacement. Replacement involves using healthy cells, tissues or organs from a living or deceased donor to replace damaged ones. Organ transplants, such as heart and liver transplants, are good examples.
The center aims to expand opportunities for transplants by finding ways to overcome the ongoing donor shortage, the need for immune suppression and challenges with organ rejection.
- Regeneration. Regeneration involves delivering specific types of cells or cell products to diseased tissues or organs, where they will ultimately restore tissue and organ function. This can be done through cell-based therapy or by using cell products, such as growth factors. Bone marrow transplants are an example.
Regenerative medicine holds the promise of definitive, affordable health care solutions that heal the body from within.
By providing healthy, functional tissues and organs, regenerative medicine will improve the quality of life for individuals.
- Imagine a world where there is no donor organ shortage, where victims of spinal cord injuries can walk, and where weakened hearts are replaced. This is the long-term promise of regenerative medicine, a rapidly developing field with the potential to transform the treatment of human disease through the development of innovative new therapies that offer a faster, more complete recovery with significantly fewer side effects or risk of complications.
- Insulin-producing pancreatic islets could be regenerated in the body or grown in the laboratory and implanted, creating the potential for a cure for diabetes.
- Tissue-engineered heart muscle may be available to repair human hearts damaged by attack or disease.
- The emerging technique of Organ Printing utilizes a standard ink jet printer modified with tissue matrix material (and possibly also cells) replacing the ink. “Made-to-order” organs of almost any configuration could then be cast and implanted.
- Materials Science meets Regenerative Medicine as “smart” biomaterials are being made that actively participate in, and orchestrate, the formation of functional tissue.
- New approaches to revitalizing worn-out body parts include removing all of the cells from an organ, and infusing new cells to integrate into the existing matrix and restore full functionality.
Research and technological advancements are bringing regenerative medicines closer to reality. That day is not too far when humans can also re generate an entire organ.