What Is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a game-changing technology with the potential to offer definitive, affordable health care solutions that treat the underlying cause of diseases, rather than only manage disease symptoms.
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 for the Center for Regenerative Medicine to refine existing regenerative therapies and develop novel ones.
To repair the root causes of diseases, the center takes three interrelated approaches:
What's the role of stem cells?
Stem cells have the ability to develop — through a process called differentiation — into many different types of cells, such as skin cells, brain cells, lung cells, and so on. Stem cells are a key component of regenerative medicine, as they open the door to new clinical applications that can heal the body from within.
Center for Regenerative Medicine teams are studying a variety of stem cells, including adult and embryonic stem cells. Also being studied are various types of progenitor cells, such as those found in umbilical cord blood, and bioengineered cells called induced pluripotent stem cells. Each type has unique qualities, with some being more versatile than others.
Many of the regenerative therapies under development in the Center for Regenerative Medicine begin with the particular patient's own cells. For example, a patient's own skin cells may be collected, reprogrammed in a laboratory to give them certain characteristics, and delivered back to the patient to treat his or her disease.
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