The Importance of Stem Cells and Bioengineering in Regenerative Medicine
|MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Bioquarter, 5 Little France Drive, Edinburgh, EH16 4UU, UK
|Corresponding Author :
|Dr. David Hay
MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh Bioquarter
5 Little France Drive
Edinburgh, EH16 4UU, UK
Tel: +44 131 651 9549
Fax: +44 7886 571009
|Received December 09, 2010; Accepted December 10, 2011; Published December 12, 2011
|Citation: Hay D (2011) The Importance of Stem Cells and Bioengineering in Regenerative Medicine. J Biochip Tissue chip 1:e101. doi:10.4172/2153-0777.1000e101
|Copyright: © 2011 Hay D. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The field of regenerative medicine is focused on the creation of functional human tissue to either model, repair or replace the damaged body part. This provides promise that in the future scientists will be able to bioengineer human tissue in vitro [1,2] that may allow the identification of novel medicines and has the potential for cell based therapies. If successful, such approaches could have a significant impact on the problem donor organ shortage for transplantation and improve patient treatment and medication. The liver is a fascinating organ, performing many processes necessary for life. In addition to its broad functional repertoire, the liver is the only human organ capable of large scale regeneration. Only 20-30% of healthy liver mass is required liver regeneration. The primary regenerative response of the liver is provided by its principal cell type, the hepatocyte. However when the liver is overloaded or chronically damaged, the hepatocyte response is inhibited, prompting the activation of a resident stem cell population. In both cases, acute and chronic liver injury may result in irreparable loss of human liver function marking the onset of liver disease. Presently the only real treatment strategy for critically failing liver function is organ transplantation. While highly successful, the shortage of donor organs limits its widespread implementation. The generation of liver tissue from a renewable resource therefore holds great promise for the development of extra-corporeal liver support devices and transplantation procedures.