Regenerative Medicine's Promising Future

A commentary by researcher Anthony Atala: "Is it possible for humans to regenerate a damaged body part the way starfish and salamanders can? Will doctors one day be able to replace cancer-ridden organs with healthy ones engineered in a lab? Will lengthy waiting times for organ transplants eventually become a thing of the past? Whenever lecturing about the field of regenerative medicine, I always enjoy hearing questions like these from audience members as they excitedly imagine the future applications of regenerative medicine. In fact, scenarios like these aren't outside the realm of possibility. Regenerative medicine therapies are already helping small groups of patients through clinical trials; and scientists around the world are working both to expand the applications of these therapies and to bring them into more widespread use. The effort to harness the body's natural healing powers has been called a new frontier in medicine because it offers the promise to actually cure, rather than just treat, disease. It has a several components: injectable cell therapies to promote healing; replacement tissues and organs engineered in the lab; and the use of bio-compatible materials or small molecules to prompt tissue regeneration from within the body."


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