The global regenerative medicine market is expected to reach $151,949.5 million by the end of 2026. That’s a growth of 26.1% between 2019 and 2026!
While it’s a relatively new field of study, regenerative therapies offer many different opportunities for healing and fighting illness.
Despite the constant growth in this industry, there’s still a lot that people don’t know about regenerative medicine. What is regenerative medicine exactly and how is it making strides in the medical field?
Keep reading to find out!
Regenerative medicine explores ways doctors can use the body’s own regenerative capabilities to heal injuries and treat diseases. The entirety of regenerative medicine involves a range of scientific disciplines. For example:
Regenerative therapy also focuses on four main principles. These include:
Studying stem cells’ physiological mechanisms
Understanding how cells grow and die
What causes stem cells to change
Understanding the structure between cells
Human beings are already capable of some regeneration.
For example, your liver can partially grow back after an injury or disease. Meanwhile, your skin renews and repairs itself all the time. However, many tissues and organs lack this ability.
As a result, scientists are left to ask questions such as:
How do some tissues regenerate naturally while others can’t?
Why do some parts of the body fail to regenerate yet have a hidden ability to heal?
How are certain animals able to regenerate limbs?
The more insight scientists gain into how stem cells work, the better they’ll succeed at using this science to replace tissue and organs. With that in mind, molecular and cellular mechanisms are key to understanding and advancing in the field of regenerative medicine.
Diseases and trauma can cause lasting harm to your tissues or organs. Unfortunately, implants aren’t always an option. Some people even spend years on a donor list before they get the help they need.
Instead of treating symptoms, regenerative medicine can provide patients with a real solution.
Using different medical approaches can amplify the body’s natural healing process. These techniques can help take over the function when an organ is damaged beyond repair.
When our bodies are invaded by disease or badly injured, the human body responds with a need to defend and heal. Regenerative medicine speeds up the healing process and allows the body to repair itself better than before.
As a result, regenerative medicine can help create solutions for patients who have injuries and diseases that are otherwise considered untreatable.
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is regenerative medicine,” let’s look at how scientists are utilizing regenerative technology today.
Here are a few ways regenerative medicine is applied to patients.
1. Tissue Engineering
Scientists can use biologically compatible scaffolds to form new tissue within the body. Referred to as tissue engineering, this process involved implanting tissue into the site where the tissue was previously damaged.
The scaffold is crafted into the same shape of the tissue that needs replacing. Then, the scaffold attracts cells, allowing new tissue to form into the desired shape.
The newly formed tissue exercises as it forms. The result is new, functional tissue.
Many patients are receiving tissue engineering as a form of treatment. While tissue-engineered devices are becoming more popular, it’s still a new field.
Most of the successes associated with tissue engineering involve soft tissue regeneration. For example, one study explored regenerating tissues for the heart and spinal cord. The study recognized a gene called connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) that’s essential for spinal cord regeneration in zebrafish despite an injury.
CTGF stimulates cells called glia. These cells are responsible for forming a tissue bridge throughout the spinal cord. By studying CTGF, scientists can develop techniques for treating spinal cord damage in humans.
This could help patients that are suffering from paralysis or a fatal injury.
Injuries and diseases can also cause organ failure. While most people rely on transplants, thousands of people can wait on a transplant list at a single time. Regenerative medicine shows the potential for growing cells and tissues that are compatible with a specific patient.
As a result, we would no longer need organ transplants or deal with complications from organ rejection.
2. Cellular Therapies
There are millions of stem cells within each adult human being. Our bodies use these stem cells to repair themselves. Scientists can harvest these stem cells, inject them into a diseased or damaged site, and allow tissues to reconstruct.
These adult stem cells are collected from:
Regenerative medicine creates the potential to treat and cure diseases such as:
Type 1 diabetes
Scientists are developing ways to refine this process. As a result, scientists are able to develop new cellular therapies for treating illnesses and injuries.
3. Medical Devices
When an organ fails, most doctors suggest a transplant to replace the damaged organ. However, there are challenges associated with organ transplants. For example, the donor will need to take immunosuppression drugs, which can have harmful side effects.
Sometimes, it takes too long to find a suitable donor organ. In some cases, an organ isn’t available until it’s too late.
Regenerative medicine is now studying new medical devices that can support a failing organ until transplant options are available. For example, circulatory support such as ventricular assist devices can act as a bridge to a heart transplant.
There are also ventricular assist devices that are used for long-term support.
Scientists are creating and evaluating new devices to replace the function of organs, including the:
In the meantime, doctors can use regenerative medicine to repair or replace tissues and organs using pluripotent stem cells.
Regenerative medicine is offering creative medical solutions for patients throughout the world. By exploring regenerative technologies, we can discover new ways to help patients in dire need of treatment. While still relatively new, regenerative medicine promises the potential for new treatment opportunities.
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