Regenerative medicine is about the replacing, engineering or regenerating human or animal cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function. It promises to repair damaged tissues and organs by copiing the body's repair mechanisms.
It goes from growing tissues in a laboratory for further implantation when the body cannot heal himself, to help him with stem cells. In any of the cases, it is important that
Regenerative medicine also includes the possibility of growing tissues and organs in the laboratory and implanting them when the body cannot heal itself. If a regenerated organ's cells would be derived from the patient's tissue or cells, this would potentially solve the problem of the shortage of organs available for donation, and the problem of organ transplant rejection.
Therefore, the use of stem cells is very important. Injection of stem cells or progenitor cells obtained through directed differentiation is one of the main subjects. It is call cell therapy.
There is also inmunomodulation therapy as well as tissue engineering, among others.
The first is about induction of regeneration by biologically active molecules administered alone or as a secretion by infused cells. The second one is about transplantation of in vitro grown organs and tissues.
1. Tissular Engineering
Tissue engineering involves the use of tissue scaffolds for the formation of new viable tissue for a medical purpose. Some people consider it a field on it's own. It was born as a sub-field of biomeaterials, as it combines the use of cells, engineering and materials methods, as well as suitable biochemical and physicochemical factors.
Final aim is to improve or replace biological tissues.
2. Genetic Engineering (also called Genetic modification or Genetic manipulation)
Genetic engineering, is direct manipulation of an organism's genes using biotechnology.
The idea is to change the genetic makeup of cells, including the transgr of genes within and accross species boundaries to prouce improved or novel organisms.
3. Organs bioprinting (also called 3D biopringing)
Utilization of 3D printing-like techniques to combine cells, growth factors, and biomaterials to fabricate biomedical parts that maximally imitate natural tissue characteristics.
It use the layer-by-layer method to deposit materials known as bioinks to create tissue-like structures that are later used in medical and tissue engineering fields. Bioprinting covers a broad range of biomaterials.
Generally speaking, 3D printing is an outstanding tool as it allows to, potentially, make anything. Therefore, the key is the ink. It happens that bioinks are difficult to obtain, as we are talking about living materials.
Currently, bioprinting can be used to print tissues and organs to help research drugs and pills. However, emerging innovations span from bioprinting of cells or extracellular matrix deposited into a 3D gel layer by layer to produce the desired tissue or organ. Besides, 3D bioprinting has begun to incorporate the printing of scaffolds. These scaffolds can be used to regenerate joints and ligaments.
With nanotechnology and personalized medicine, this is the third field I like the most, and probably the one that has lots of potentials. I truly think medicine is going this way. It will improve a lot of people's life and health. However, as the potential is huge,it implies deep changes which ethic aspect must be considered. It is important to take all the moral considerations into account, and therefore have a strict moral code and limitations.