The field of regenerative medicine is concerned with the restoration of dysfunctional cells, tissues and organs both by biological replacement, for example with the aid of cultured tissue, but also by stimulating the body’s own regeneration and repair processes. In fact, we humans all possess a large arsenal of both independently active and latently existing regeneration mechanisms, which, however, require targeted external support for their activation.
Regeneration is defined by healing or restoring processes, which until now could not be explained by the rather chemical-mechanistic philosophy of our scientific approaches and which used to be of only marginal interest. However, we – and you, too – have long known truly self-sufficient regeneration from nature: If you cut an earthworm in two, both parts can mature again into a complete earthworm after a certain time. Salamanders, which are almost identical to us in their physical structure, also have the ability to regrow many body parts in all their details after they have been lost: Eyes, legs, almost the entire digestive tract and, last but not least, up to one third of the brain are newly formed in salamanders. In humans, the regeneration mechanisms are far less developed, but they are still present – but what principles or mechanisms make this possible?
Stem cells – part of regenerative medicine research
In the past 20 years, science has entered the field of regenerative medicine more expansively. Especially the stem cell research is massively pushed, because stem cells are considered a great hope in medicine. Stem cells, which have repair capability and new formation as their basic properties, are initially undifferentiated cells that can develop into the various 200 types of cells in our body. They have a high proliferation potential and can influence other cells by releasing signal substances. Stem cells repair, regenerate and have an anti-inflammatory effect. We all carry stem cells inside us. Even at this very second, as you read this, it is the stem cells in your bone marrow that are producing around those 100,000 million new blood cells that your body needs every day!