Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells in Dermatology

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Clinically relevant regenerative medicine is still in its early stages of development. Difficulties in regenerating large-scale and complex structures, the lack of safety data, and the paucity of clinical trials have slowed the process of technological advance.

OBJECTIVE

To familiarize the clinician with techniques available in the laboratory and experimental approaches being tested clinically. In addition, a layout is discussed for how dermatologists can lead the way in bringing regenerative medicine to clinical reality.

METHODS

This article reviews the relevant literature on regenerative medicine for dermatological applications and discusses findings and techniques in a clinically relevant context.

RESULTS

Multiple cell-free and cell-based approaches for regenerating dermatologic tissues have been reported in the basic science and clinical literature. These are reviewed in the order of complexity.

CONCLUSION

Incremental steps are needed to apply the principles of regenerative medicine to simple medical problems first. Such a stepwise approach would commence, for example, with creation of single-function tissues that could fill soft-tissue defects and proceed to the development of fully functional skin grafts. Likewise, cell-free approaches can build the foundation for the more technically demanding cell-based strategies that are likely necessary for achieving the ultimate goal of regenerative dermatology.

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