Regenerative Medicine 101

– I am Dr. Anthony Atala,
Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. We’re working on many different tissues including the skin, which
we plan to bio print as well as ears, digits,
muscle, cartilage, bone, nerve, to be able to replace things such as face structures, limbs and digits as well as other parts of the body due to the damage incurred by injury. There are many technologies that we use to actually engineer the
tissues using the cells. And one of them for example
is using a printing machine to actually print the cells just like you would
print a piece of paper. But instead of using ink,
you’re actually using cells. Another technique that we use is to grow patient cells and place them on 3-D biodegradable molds to create entire complex organs like this bladder. After eight weeks of incubation and growth the new organ can be transplanted. There is no risk of
rejection because the cells grew from the patient’s own cells. Every part of the body has
cells capable of regeneration. Your heart cell can make
more heart cells, and so on. We’ve engineered blood vessels and you can actually see them pulsing. We’ve made over 22 types of tissue so far, including muscles that
can expand and contract. In theory anything that is inside the body can be grown outside the body. The dream of regenerative medicine is to have fully functional off the shelf organs and tissues to replace diseased or damaged organs in the body. We really hope that these technologies will be not only able
to help improve lives in terms of quality, but
eventually will also save lives.


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