Cells replicate in our bodies all the time. Regenerative medicine harnesses this power, inserting healthy cells into a patient to restore functions lost to disease as the new, healthy cells replicate. Bone marrow transplants are an example of a regenerative medicine that has been in practice successfully for many years.
288 drugs in the pipeline
Stem cells, which can regenerate for long periods of time and can be induced to take on special functions, have been particularly effective for this type of treatment. Stems cells can come from both embryos and adults. In addition, certain adult cells can be "reprogrammed" to assume stem-cell status.
The potential to repair damaged tissue and organs could have widespread implications in the future for people suffering from everything from heart disease to diabetes.