• Question: Hi David. I'm a year 8 student and I saw on your page the ''area'' category. From this, I saw ''regenerative medicine'' and I've actually never heard of this so I wanted to ask what it is and how it helps, considering the fact that it says medicine.

    Asked by iqera to David on 24 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 24 Jun 2019:


      Cool question, it’s been good for me to think about this as it’s a term I use often to describe the kind of science that i’m involved in.
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      Regenerative Medicine is pretty much brand new and could be considered one of the cutting edges of biomedical science at the moment. It’s a term that was first used in the mid-90’s when scientists were only just beginning to learn about stem cells, and starting to imagine what might be possible if we could understand them. In 2006 we first learned how to “re-programme” a stem cell, this was when we learned how to control what cell a stem cell became. From then on cells took on a new role as a tool and potential therapeutic treatment but we needed help from other areas of science to be able to learn to use them properly.
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      Regenerative medicine is encompasses lots of different scientists from different areas of science and tries to develop our understanding and tools that can help repair or replace damaged or diseased human cells or tissues to restore their normal function
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      It may involve the transplantation of stem cells, progenitor cells (which are like stem cells) or tissue, stimulation of the body’s own repair processes, or the use of cells to deliver therapeutic agents such as genes and cytokines (this is how gene therapy works).
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      All regenerative medicine strategies depend upon harnessing, stimulating or guiding the natural developmental or repair processes of cells and your body. Stem cell research plays a central role in regenerative medicine, which also spans the disciplines of tissue engineering, developmental cell biology, cellular therapeutics, gene therapy, biomaterials, chemical biology and nanotechnology (remember I said we used lots of different areas of science!).
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      I’m really lucky that in Edinburgh we have the MRC’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine: http://www.crm.ed.ac.uk/ where more than 300 scientists work. You can take a virtual tour and have a look around the building yourself: http://www.crm.ed.ac.uk/tour
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      Leave a comment if I’ve not made anything clear or if you’ve got more questions.

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