Regenerative medicine is a rapidly evolving field in healthcare which is transforming modern practice. This medical innovation, along with new devices, is a breakthough in therapy.
Currently, most regenerative medical procedures are capable of altering the fundamental mechanisms of a disease. Through regenerative medicine, a more effective sustainable healthcare system is possible.
A significant number of regenerative medicine products are presently available and being used with success. There are over 60,000 stem cell transplants performed each year globally in the treatment of blood-based disorders and cancer.
Also, more products are being approved by the FDA as new data is made available from late-stage regenerative medicine clinical trials. At present, there are more than 2,500 regenerative medicine studies in the works, with 15 percent of these industry-sponsored.
The Human Placenta
The placenta of humans has long interested scientists in regards to its sustenance of the fetus, its role in pregnancy, and the maintenance of fetomaternal tolerance. Researchers have recently started an investigation into the placenta’s possibility to extend beyond fetal development to act as a cell source, as it has properties which are clinically useful.
The placenta cells can secrete soluble factors for aiding tissue repair. Therefore, with the field of regenerative medicine, these cells can be applied in the regeneration of diseased organs or tissues.
The therapeutic utility of these placenta-derived cells works for several disease treatments. This is proved by clinical and preclinical studies, several which have already been carried out to date.
Further work still needs to be conducted in order to understand placental cell properties and underlying mechanisms which affect their benefits. Present data, however, provides enough compelling evidence supporting the placenta as a cell source for regenerative medicine.
Regenerative Medical Approaches
· Rejuvenation – This means boosting the body’s normal ability to heal by use of a regenerative product. Some organs do not repair easily or even at all. However, the body produces cells that have been show to remodel and self-heal the tissues. These include the highly specialized heart cells, as well as those of the nerves and lungs.
· Replacement – This involves using healthy cells, tissues, or organs from a cadaver or living person to replace ones that are damaged. Examples of this are organ transplants, such as the liver and heart.
· Regeneration – This involves the delivery of specific types of cells or products to the diseased organs or tissues. Once injected or implanted, the cells will restore organ or tissue function. Regeneration is done by way of cell-based therapy or use of growth factors, as with bone marrow transplants.
Stem cells go through a process of differentiation, where they develop into many types of cells, such as brain, skin, and lung cells. A major component of regenerative medicine, stem cells include adult and embryonic cells.
The progenitor cells are found in the umbilical cord blood, and they are of current interest to researchers. Many regenerative therapies use stem cells, which are injected or placed into the patient’s disease organ or tissue.