Your body has an estimate of up to 75 trillion cells. And every one of them is subject to a different lifespan.
Your red blood cells? They’ll be around for around four months before renewing themselves. Sperm? They barely make it to day 3.
Unfortunately, as you get older, this ability of your cells (particularly the stem cells) to renew and regenerate begins to deteriorate, giving rise to the dreaded symptoms of aging and disease. And that’s where regenerative medicine comes in.
Let’s have a gander at the regenerative medicine definition, its applications and the purpose it serves in the medical world!
Exploring the Regenerative Medicine Definition
Regenerative medicine aims at reversing the degeneration within cells or organs or restoring them to their original purpose. It combines elements from life sciences like biology and genetics together with engineering and robotics, creating a clinically effective method of healing.
Given the circumstances, it can be used to:
- Repair old deteriorated cells or tissues to their normal functioning
- Replace old cells with newer, functioning tissue.
- Protect cells and organs from suffering a premature death or disease.
- Regenerate cells within organs or stimulate their growth within diseased tissues or organs.
Real-World Health Applications
Approximately 22 people die, every day in the wait for a suitable organ donor. The waiting list is increasing every minute and grows drastically disproportionately to the supply. Even a successful transplant comes with its own set of complications and side-effects.
Thankfully, with the successful applications of regenerative medicine, things might be looking up.
While the work within this field is still in its early stages, it shows a lot of promise. One of the most significant approaches includes scaffolding, to recreate a functional organ as a replacement. So far, soft tissue regeneration, in particular, has seen a lot of successful experiments.
Every human has a variety of stem cells, capable of creating cells similar to themselves. Regenerative medicine explores the possibility of harvesting such cells and injecting them at the right spots to induce the growth of new cells in damaged organs.
Bone marrow, skeletal muscle, and blood are a few places used to source these stem cells.
In addition to fully artificial organs, biohybrid organs are also in the works. These are made from a combination of synthetic and biological elements. Regenerative medicine’s applications in this field aim at creating better, functional artificial organs or medical devices to serve as replacements for dysfunctional or diseased organs.
How Many Cells Does it Take to See Results?
Depending on the damage it aims to repair, the regenerative cells may vary between less than a million to several billion. Stimulating natural repair within a damaged tissue takes fewer cells than complete restoration of an organ.
Autologous versus allogenic
Autologous cells are those derived from the patients themselves. Allogenic are those derived from a consenting donor. In the case of the former, fewer cells might be needed, as opposed to the latter.
An Emerging Science
The regenerative medicine definition may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but its breakthrough progress makes it a medical reality. People have been inspired to donate and finance its research in the hopes of better healthcare for humanity.
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