What is regenerative medicine? Regenerative medicine is the science of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal form and function. This broadly encompasses the use of cells, tissues, drugs, synthetic biomaterials and devices to help patients heal more effectively from trauma, cancer therapy, other disease processes and birth anomalies. Regenerative medicine therapies can have goals of both healing damaged tissues and forming new tissue.
Through modern medicine, scientists and surgeons alike have found ways to prolong the longevity of the human life. However, there are severe limitations to the general system behind organ transplantation. Main disadvantages include a shortage of matched organs for people on the waiting list, the average length one remains on the list itself while his or her body is deteriorating, and the sometimes limited life of organs post transplantation .
This is where artificial organ constructs come into play. In an effort to address the growing problems at hand, the bioengineering field has blossomed at an alarming rate within the past few years. Scientists have begun to construct artificial scaffolds for kidneys, bladders, and hearts with their eyes set on in vivo transplants, or transplants taking place within a living organism .
A major challenge within the creation of this technology remains the inability of scientists to replicate the complex vascularization network, or capillaries, between the naturally occurring cells in our bodies. That is, until Leon Bellan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt, made an enormous advancement earlier this year using a commercial cotton candy machine to create an artificial framework of blood vessels capable of supporting vital organs .
The general idea behind tissue engineering promises to deliver alternative ways of repairing damaged flesh caused from disease and injury.
Due to the minute complexity of human angiogenesis the formation of new blood vesselsthe process of accurately replicating the human vasculature system is the main challenge researches are facing.
As Kolesky described, capillary networks are essential for supplying oxygen and removing waste from organs . Therefore, keeping engineered tissues and organs alive rests upon the creation of a specialized network of capillaries that can nourish the tissues and remove said detrimental waste at the same time.
The advantage of this process is that the vessel architecture is formed from a physiological process, therefore the network is more likely to resemble the in vivo phenomena . Unfortunately, the spontaneous growth of the capillaries takes weeks at a time. Strategies include extrusion molding of channels as well as 3D printing of hydrogels to form such vascular networks .
Recently, researches have been focusing on the 3D printing strategy after the discovery was made that cells of connective tissues need a substrate upon which to adhere and proliferate, hence the importance of a scaffold when creating capillaries , .
Through the technique of 3D printing using hydrogels as the scaffold to support cells, researchers have had strong success forming microfluidic networks that strongly mimic the 3D capillary system.
Hydrogels, or water based gels, are defined as open systems with semipermeable properties that allow movement of water and solute molecules . The 3D porous architecture of hydrogels allows for the diffusion and movement of molecules in and out of the tiny capillaries.
Their structure also allows the construct as a whole to undergo macroscopic changes in dimension, which allows some degree of flexibility similar to natural tissues. Hydrogels also have properties that are ideal for an extracellular matrix, the substance of the underlying capillary beds .
However, as Bok Lee describes in his paper, a major difficulty within the top-down technique stems from the conflicting requirements that the scaffold be both water-insoluble as well as water-soluble. However, once the mold has set, the network has to dissolve in water to create the microchannels, for cells will only grow in aqueous environments .The promise of organ transplantation in the regenerative medicine era is the hope that one day organs and tissues can be developed “on demand” to supply all patients in need of organ and tissue replacement.
3D-bioprinting technology revolutionizing future of organ transplants calling the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System. for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical. Regenerative medicine is a broad field that includes tissue engineering but also incorporates research on self-healing – where the body uses its own systems, sometimes with help foreign biological material to recreate cells and rebuild tissues and organs.
The terms “tissue engineering” and “regenerative medicine” have become largely interchangeable, as the field hopes to focus on cures instead of treatments for . Jun 27, · Regenerative medicine can now produce relatively simple tissues such as skin, bladders, vessels, urethras, and upper airways, whereas engineering or generation of complex modular organs remains a major challenge.
Regenerative medicine as applied to solid organ transplantation: current status and future challenges. Giuseppe Orlando 1,2, Pedro Baptista 2, Martin Birchall 3, Paolo De Coppi 4, Alan Farney 5, The respiratory organ on which RM .
Regenerative medicine is the science of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal form and function. This broadly encompasses the use of cells, tissues, drugs, synthetic biomaterials and devices to help patients heal more effectively from trauma, cancer therapy, other disease processes and birth anomalies.