European Initiative for Regenerative Medicine

  • Carla Moris profile
    Carla Moris
    28 April 2016 - updated 2 years ago
    Total votes: 5

Contribution received to the FET Flagships consultation: European Initiative for Regenerative Medicine

PIER MARIA FORNASARI, Italian Regenerative Medicine Infrastructure

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Regenerative Medicine is considered a novel frontier of medical research. The regeneration of body parts is a rather common phenomenon in nature; a salamander can regenerate an amputated limb in several days. Humans have this ability as well, but they lose it over the years: a severed fingertip can regenerate until 11 years of age. The human regeneration potential was well-known also in ancient times, as demonstrated by the myth of Prometheus.

Some European countries have developed a national strategy on regenerative medicine and, first of all, UK has published documents (part of this proposal derives from them), built a Catapult Center and defined UK as leader country in this field.

There are substantially three approaches: cell-based therapy, use of engineered scaffolds and the implantation of scaffolds seeded with cells. diseases Therefore, medicine is facing with pressing problems which require an evolution of medical treatments and the regeneration of damaged tissues, “the fourthR”, could revolutionize modern medicine, offering the way to cure, rather than merely treat symptoms.

Regenerative medicine is not one discipline, but covers a number of emerging and sometimes related fields. At its simplest it can be defined as a therapeutic intervention which “replaces or regenerates human cells, tissues or organs, to restore or establish normal function”.

Regenerative medicine deploys small molecule drugs, biologics, medical devices and cell-based therapies. However, the term is more colloquially used to mean advanced therapies based on cells, tissue engineering, developmental and stem cell biology, gene therapy, cellular therapeutics and new biomaterials (scaffolds and matrices).

Although not “regenerative”, there are also promising associated cell-based technologies such as the use of cells for non-regenerative therapies, stem cells for drug discovery and toxicity testing and other associated tools and technologies.

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