Regenerative medicine offers the potential to be regenerative rather than merely palliative or symptomatic treatment. This allows therapeutic outcomes that were previously impossible to be achieved.
In addition, regenerative medicine offers the prospect of fewer serious side effects than existing products and therapies because it uses existing processes in human biochemistry.
Our ability to restore damaged tissues and organs today relies on three large categories of interventional approaches:
- medical devices/artificial organs, in which tissue function is replaced with entirely synthetic constructs and machines;
- tissue engineering and biomaterials, in which temporary scaffolds are used to bridge large tissue-gap defects;
- cellular therapies, including the transplantation of stem cells and genetically manipulated cells for the repair of damaged or diseased tissue.
This approach is extremely important nowadays, when estimated life goes along with quality of life. The number of patients requiring a lifesaving transplant constantly over-exceeds the number of organs available for donations and Regenerative Medicine has the potential ability to solve this shortage problem.
Also, the matching between organ’s cells and the patient fixes another serious problem that complicates even more transplant procedures: organ rejection.
I quickly touched rejection earlier in this article.
Rejection is warded off by the fact that cord blood can be safely infused back without being rejected by the individual’s immune system.
The use of cord blood stem cells is being studies already in healing conditions as brain injuries or Type 1 Diabetes and other treatments are under investigation and research, as strokes and hearing loss.
Particularly interesting is the case of the Central Nervous System. Studies conducted in animal models, demonstrated that cord blood stems cells can migrate to the area where brain injury is located, significantly reducing the area. Also, the injection of human cord blood stem cells into animals affected by serious strokes, stimulated new vessels and neurons creation in the brain.
Also, being a father since few months, I have been recently involved into a new prevention system, that I should rather call a sort of “store your lifejacket in a safe place” prevention, hoping that you’ll never need it in the future!
I’m referring to the cryogenic store of cord stem cells into dedicated storage Banks. A wide range of therapeutic uses can be covered so far, including autologous use, heterologous or allogenic use, HLA and family use.
Since research is making great strides on this, I believe it’s reasonable to assume more and more sophisticated therapies will be added in the coming future, as well as improvements to existing ones.