Regenerative medicine is an interdisciplinary field that applies engineering and life science techniques to promote the repair or regrowth of damaged tissues and organs. The success of the field stems from the long-standing and unfulfilled need to replace larger damaged structures in the body, due to injury, age, or severe illness. Although allogeneic transplants – healthy tissue from a compatible donor - offer some possibilities, they by far do not bridge the gap between organ availability and demand. Additionally, transplants cause further challenges, in particular severe immune reactions.
‘Regenerative medicine’ is an umbrella term for many fields; the most common one is tissue engineering, so much so that the two are often used interchangeably. However, regenerative medicine can also include some cell and gene therapies, depending on their specific indication.
The field of regenerative medicine could solve these issues; but reaching this goal is easier said than done. There are many hurdles to the development of these therapies, both in their development as well as their implementation. Introducing new products to the market, particularly in this field, is difficult by the significant time and monetary investments required to earn the required regulatory approval. For instance, the development process from product conceptualization to market entry involves multiple clinical phases and can require over a dozen years of testing. The average cost was shown to range from $802 million to $2.6 billion per drug.
On the engineering side, there are many problems still to be solved. Regenerating an entire structure on the tissue to organ level is extremely complex, as an incredible number of factors need to be considered for success. Numerous strategies, including the use of new materials and de novo generated cells, as well as various combinations have been tested to replace, regenerate, or even heal damaged tissues. So far, while the demand is ever-growing, there are only very few products on the market; and those available share a common trait: they provide some benefit in terms of healing and regeneration, but none are able to fully resolve injuries or diseases.
So where is the field headed? What can be done do address these issues and what is possible with Elastrin Therapeutic´s technology? Find out in our next article!
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