2007 Edge Optimistic Question: systemic regenerative medicine

art_veinThe Edge Annual Question — 2007 for science and technology driven people is: What are you optimistic about? Why? In my opinion it seems rational to be optimistic about things which are in my range or at least I can do something for them. So being a stem cell biologist I am really optimistic about the prospects in front of stem cell research and regenerative medicine and specially the future possibility of systemic regenerative medicine which theoretically means the continuous, gradual and consecutive regeneration of every tissue and organ of the human body n times by combined regmed approaches, i.e. tissue engineering (in vitro grown organs and tissues implants or parts of them), systemic (via circulation) and locally targeted stem and progenitor cell transplantation, and endogenous stem cell niche activation with proper growth factor delivery aiming to maintain the physiological turnover and condition of the human body. For that we do not need gene therapy or nanotechnology, just to develop the existing and aforementioned branches, methods and technologies of regmed. Systemic regenerative medicine applied to one patient indefinitely is partial immortalization. It follows from the very concept of regenerative medicine and is just the logical extrapolation of it. Although scientists and technologists in stem cell research and regenerative medicine do not realize this, they implicitly do it and every dollar supporting this science is also (partly) going for extending healthy human lifespan indefinitely. It would be good to know how the systemic repair approach works on animal models, but for that we need to overcome a whole lot of difficulties, the most problematic part will be the proper control of transplanted cell fate and the exclusion of tumorigenic transformation. Of course 2007 won’t give us the answer whether it is feasible, but it’s time to think about it and by that I mean think about experiments and set up computer models.

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8 thoughts on “2007 Edge Optimistic Question: systemic regenerative medicine

  1. Attila,

    Awesome post as always.

    Have you thought about doing a quick video where you discuss partial immortalization to laymen? It would be really interesting to hear you talk about what it is, why you are excited about it, and what the rest of us can do to help.

  2. I´d like to point out that recent animal tests show that tumor formation can be minimized or restricted altogether by “filtering out” cells that are differenciating from cells which are not.

    I´d like to post a link to the story, but I dont recall where I read this :/. Nonetheless, it represents an important (if a bit intuitive) update, methinks.

    As a sidenote, I´d like to know to what extent embrionary stem cells can regenerate cell niches (I recall reading that they had been testing that in mice in Berkeley), and whether iPS cells (particularily a selection of iPSCs already differenciating) can impact the process in a simmilar manner.

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