One of the new up and coming fields that you should know about is regenerative medicine. It’s growing quickly and will likely affect the business you do in the near future, if it hasn’t already.
The reason regenerative could be a game changer, if it lives up to its potential, is that instead of treating diseases, these companies are working on being able to replace, re-engineer or regenerate human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function by targeting the root cause of disease. That means no more long term medicinal regimes or treatments to stave off diseases, a huge industry shift.
Regenerative medicine is at the nexus between several other existing areas in the medical world. Biology, chemistry, engineering and physical sciences all play a role in the emerging industry, so its a large and diverse playing field for researchers and its growing all of the time.
The latest indicator of future growth came in a study from MarketResearchReports, which recently released “Global Regenerative Medicine Market (Technology, Applications, Geography) – Industry Analysis, Trends, Opportunities and Forecast, 2013-2020.” In it, the market analysis firm found the global regenerative medicine market will be worth some $67.6 billion by 2020 – a big increase from the $16.4 billion valuation by the group in 2013. Between 2014 and 2020, the report expects the regenerative medicine market to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 23.2 percent.
The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine estimates there are currently more than, “700 companies with a regenerative medicine focus ranging from divisions of multinational corporations to smaller organizations focused solely on the sector.”
According to the Alliance this is the breakdown of subsections within the industry:
Living cells, a pillar of the field, are incorporated into regenerative medicines to achieve a variety of positive effects including replacing damaged or diseased cells and/or tissue, stimulating an endogenous response that promotes the body’s own healing such as an immune response or regeneration in diseased tissue and delivering genetic or molecular therapies to targets
Gene therapy addresses defective or mutated genes needing either correction or improved regulation through the insertion of properly functioning genes into a patient’s cells.
Biologics and Small Molecules
Biologics and small molecules can be defined as the use of chemicals and cellular components that are known to induce dormant,or edogenous cells to regain regenerative properties.
Tissue Engineering: Synthetic Materials, Biomaterials and Scaffolds
Synthetic and bio-based materials, cornerstones of the regenerative medicine field, are generally implanted in the body for reconstructive purposes, such as in joint replacement, bone repair, as artificial ligaments and tendons, dental implants, heart valves and wound repair. They work in partnership with native cells to support reconstruction and healing.
Stem Cells for Drug Discovery, Toxicity Testing and Disease Modeling
Companies are increasingly learning to leverage the use of stem cells and/or living tissue constructs to create in-vitro models to study human mechanisms of disease and the effects of drugs on a variety of cell and tissue types such as human heart, liver and brain cells. These models, built predominantly using embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, allow for faster and safer drug development.
Cell and tissue banks are responsible for collecting, storing and distributing biological materials used in regenerative medicine including adipose tissue, cord blood and birth tissues, musculoskeletal tissues, pericardium, skin, bone, vascular tissue, autologous and allogeneic cells as well as other biological samples.
The National Institute of Health predicts this for the field, “Imagine a world where there is no donor organ shortage, where victims of spinal cord injuries can walk, and where weakened hearts are replaced. This is the long-term promise of regenerative medicine, a rapidly developing field with the potential to transform the treatment of human disease through the development of innovative new therapies that offer a faster, more complete recovery with significantly fewer side effects or risk of complications.”
Study up, this could be the future of the medical industry.