Regenerative medicine sounds like a straightforward practice, but many of us may not know exactly what it is or what it entails. If you want to learn more about some basics of regenerative medicine, keep on reading!
When you take the term itself, you can infer that regenerative medicine is used to help reconstruct something. When I think of the word “regenerate”, I automatically think of the ability of some species of starfish being able to regrow injured limbs. Now, though regenerative medicine isn’t able to help us grow body parts back (yet), it does help in other ways. “Regenerative medicine may be defined as the process of replacing or "regenerating" human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function” . So, the goal of regenerative medicine is to help your body eventually go back to being able to do what it needs to do. “From prenatal surgical interventions to treatments for lifelong degenerative and disabling conditions, regenerative medicine therapies prompt the body to enact a self-healing response” . No matter what the treatment is for, the objective stays the same: restore and heal.
Now we know a little more about what regenerative medicine is used for, but how does it work? “Regenerative Medicine refers to a group of biomedical approaches to clinical therapies that may involve the use of stem cells. Examples include cell therapies (the injection of stem cells or progenitor cells); immunomodulation therapy (regeneration by biologically active molecules administered alone or as secretions by infused cells); and tissue engineering (transplantation of laboratory grown organs and tissues)” . All of these different approaches are meant to replace and repair cells, tissues, or organs so individuals who go through this treatment can hopefully live a life without needing constant treatments in order to help their bodies function as they should.
Considering how far medical advancements have come to be able to get us to this point, there is no doubt that there will be even more advancements to come that will allow the practice of regenerative medicine to expand its reach into treating more and more individuals with varying conditions. With plenty of research and application, regenerative medicine can grow to better ensure the health of so many individuals who might otherwise have to go through a lifetime of treatment.
1. Regenerative Medicine. aabb.org. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2023, from https://www.aabb.org/news-resources/resources/cellular-therapies/facts-about-cellular-therapies/regenerative-medicine
2. Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics - About Regenerative Medicine. Mayo Clinic. (2019, February 26). Retrieved April 22, 2023, from https://www.mayo.edu/research/centers-programs/center-regenerative-biotherapeutics/about/about-regenerative-medicine#:~:text=Regenerative%20medicine%20is%20focused%20on,heal%20itself%20in%20many%20ways
Author: Lauryn Agron
Editor: Kayjah Taylor
Health scientist: Claire Mayani