Major injuries incurred from explosive sources in recent military interventions have caused high interest in new tissue regenerative options. Historically, much progress in plastic surgery techniques for burn and trauma management have been during intensive war periods. Now it is known that many supplementary issues need to be addressed before tissue reconstruction including management of pain, nutrition, infection, and physiological function. The latter needs to be managed by topical biological cover in large surface tissue damage to avoid fluid loss. Once available through National Tissue Banks, cadaver skin used in the life-saving treatments of burn patients is now difficult to access. The first wide use of allogenic cadaver skin was in World War II. Alternative sources from humans and animals that are conserved frozen or in glycerol are used routinely. Conservation techniques using frozen tissues can be appropriate for civilian use but could be more difficult for military due to availability of freezers on-site. Alternative sources of organs and tissues with their specific conservation, along with the development of modern regenerative medicine techniques, could help assure quality and security for the patient. The possible role of stem cells in military medicine has been highly funded by the US Department of Defense (DOD) through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) program in past. The recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased the intensity of medical research in the military and new DOD proposal calls will certainly open many new avenues for cellular therapy.
Last date updated on July, 2014