Regenerative medicine is expected to be a $17.9 billion global market by 2025. That’s more than twice the amount of its current worth: only $8.5 billion globally in 2020.
Why the sharp increase? The FDA has approved the use of some stem cell therapies in humans. Plus, with so many amazing benefits, companies serving general consumers are scrambling to get a piece of the regenerative medicine pie.
Yet, the research on the safety, efficacy, and application of stem cells and other therapies is still emerging. That’s why we think the future of regenerative medicine is much more promising than its past.
Want to know the top nine reasons we think so? Then you’ve got to keep reading because this one’s for you!
- 1 Regenerative Medicine Will Utilize More Than Stem Cells Alone
- 2 Regenerative Medicine Will Replace Transplants
- 3 More Evidence Will Emerge About Hematopoietic Stem Cells’ Plasticity
- 4 Stem Cells Will Slow Down the Aging Process
- 5 Researchers Will Learn From Regenerative Animals
- 6 Hospitals of Regenerative Medicine Will Arise
- 7 Stem Cells Will Aid in Wound Healing
- 8 Regenerative Medicine Technology Will Become Available to the General Public
- 9 Regenerative Medicine Regulations Will Increase
1Regenerative Medicine Will Utilize More Than Stem Cells Alone
Regenerative medicine is controversial. Scientists often harvest stem cells from aborted fetuses, making it as scientific a conversation as it is political.
With ethical issues aplenty, researchers and clinicians are always searching for new methods to stimulate the growth of stem cells. That’s why it’s so exciting that scientists are uncovering new regenerative techniques.
For example, read this article for an interview with Dr. Kenneth Chien, who uses synthetic RNA injections to regenerate heart muscle.
2Regenerative Medicine Will Replace Transplants
Currently, anyone in need of a new organ has to wait on a long list. Organ transplant lists are notoriously slow, though. That’s why it’s good news regenerative medicine may soon be able to replace transplants.
How is this possible? Stem cells don’t just help create new cells. Through a process called differentiation, stem cells turn into the tissues, organs, and organ systems of the human body.
Researchers are already using regenerated organs to study particular diseases. Soon, they’ll learn how to regenerate organs in the human body, too.
3More Evidence Will Emerge About Hematopoietic Stem Cells’ Plasticity
Hematopoietic stem cells are stem cells from bone marrow. These were among the first stem cells ever recovered. This is the reason why researchers have been probing them for so long.
Recently, scientists studying hematopoietic stem cells found that they don’t just differentiate into new blood cells. They may be plastic, meaning they can generate other tissues and organs beyond the blood system.
Why is this so groundbreaking? Hematopoietic cells are among the only stem cells found in adult humans. That removes some of the ethical barriers around studying them, ethical barriers that often delay good stem cell research.
4Stem Cells Will Slow Down the Aging Process
If our cells never aged or died, neither would we. For this reason, scientists have been looking into the use of stem cells in aging research for the last decade.
A recent aging study published in Nature looked into the relationship between aging and stem cells.
The researchers found that stem cell populations in the brain decline as we age. They also showed that increasing the number of stem cells in the brain can slow down the aging process.
Unfortunately, the above study was performed in mice and we don’t have human trials to support its conclusions. Still, this is a promising first step in proving that stem cells can halt or even reverse aging in humans, too.
5Researchers Will Learn From Regenerative Animals
From the “immortal” jellyfish to the axolotl salamander, animals serve as proof that regenerative medicine is completely viable. For example, the axolotl is a salamander found in Mexico that can regrow entire limbs.
The axolotl uses a process called cell reprogramming. This is a method by which fully-adult cells can revert back to an undifferentiated state.
Recall that differentiation occurs when cells specialize into tissues and organs. Undifferentiated cells are more like stem cells— they can differentiate into almost any cell in the human body.
Researchers will continue to learn from regenerative animals like the axolotl. They’ll begin to understand how cell reprogramming happens naturally. Potentially, this could help us learn how to reprogram our own adult cells.
6Hospitals of Regenerative Medicine Will Arise
As regenerative medicine research matures, hospitals specializing in stem cell therapy will, too.
Clinics offering types of regenerative medicine are popping up across the nation. And top hospitals are offering stem cell therapies for conditions like joint pain and arthritis.
7Stem Cells Will Aid in Wound Healing
Wound healing is yet another promising area of regenerative medicine research. Theoretically, adding stem cells to traditional dermal wound healing methods could speed up healing.
Doctors also think regenerative medicine could help with healing-impaired wounds. Healing-impaired wounds are those that don’t heal fully on their own. Stem cells would help recruit growth factors, which are compounds in our body that promote healing.
Eventually, this could also have implications for internal wounds, too.
8Regenerative Medicine Technology Will Become Available to the General Public
With so many potential applications, regenerative medicine is a highly lucrative approach to medicine. Stem cells and other regenerative medicine techniques can address problems traditional medicine can’t.
Indeed, companies like Hitachi are already coming up with ways to commercialize this technology. Like any promising technology, businesses want to create regenerative medicine products that will fly off their shelves.
9Regenerative Medicine Regulations Will Increase
In 2017, the FDA announced that it would be focusing more on unsafe regenerative therapies. This includes clinics and hospitals serving up treatments that aren’t actually FDA-approved.
Unapproved treatments have led to serious infection and even a few cases of blindness. While regulation will crack down on offenders, it will also allow a safe space for this technology to flourish.
The Future of Regenerative Medicine Looks Promising
From conditions like arthritis to the aging process, the benefits of regenerative medicine look promising. Still, we need more research before we know for sure what these treatments can really do for humans.
New regenerative medicine methods are emerging every day. Make sure you stay in the know. Keep checking back here for more articles like this one!