Regenerative Medicine Primer

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Abstract

The pandemic of chronic diseases, compounded by the scarcity of usable donor organs, mandates radical innovation to address the growing unmet needs of individuals and populations. Beyond life-extending measures that are often the last available option, regenerative strategies offer transformative solutions in treating degenerative conditions. By leveraging newfound knowledge of the intimate processes fundamental to organogenesis and healing, the emerging regenerative armamentarium aims to boost the aptitude of human tissues for self-renewal. Regenerative technologies strive to promote, augment, and reestablish native repair processes, restituting organ structure and function. Multimodal regenerative approaches incorporate transplant of healthy tissues into damaged environments, prompt the body to enact a regenerative response in damaged tissues, and use tissue engineering to manufacture new tissue. Stem cells and their products have a unique aptitude to form specialized tissues and promote repair signaling, providing active ingredients of regenerative regimens. Concomitantly, advances in materials science and biotechnology have unlocked additional prospects for growing tissue grafts and engineering organs. Translation of regenerative principles into practice is feasible and safe in the clinical setting. Regenerative medicine and surgery are, thus, poised to transit from proof-of-principle studies toward clinical validation and, ultimately, standardization, paving the way for next-generation individualized management algorithms.

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