Regenerative Medicine is the process of creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to age, disease, damage, or congenital defects. This field holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body by stimulating previously irreparable organs to heal themselves. Regenerative medicine also empowers scientists to grow tissues and organs in the laboratory and safely implant them when the body cannot heal itself. Importantly, regenerative medicine has the potential to solve the problem of the shortage of organs available for donation compared to the number of patients that require life-saving organ transplantation, as well as solve the problem of organ transplant rejection, since the organ's cells will match that of the patient.
It refers to a group of biomedical approaches to clinical therapies that may involve the use of stem cells. Examples include; the injection of stem cells or progenitor cells (cell therapies); another the induction of regeneration by biologically active molecules; and a third is transplantation of in vitro grown organs and tissues (Tissue engineering).
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Regenerative medicine is the next step in the evolution of treatments for previously untreatable diseases and conditions affecting millions of people worldwide. Virtually any disease that “results from malfunctioning, damaged or failing tissues” has the potential to be cured through regenerative medicine.
Currently extensive research involving regenerative medicine applications is being conducted at numerous research institutions worldwide. Examples of diseases or conditions currently being investigated are:
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Restoration of brain damage
- Heart Conditions of myocardium (heart muscle)
- Restoration of heart vessel to avoid by-pass operations
- Nerve restoration following spinal injuries
- Diabetes type I & II