Stem cells are a powerful resource for producing a variety of cell types to be used in translational medicine. Translational medicine represents a new era in medicine by "translating" basic biological research into biomedical applications aimed to improve health outcomes of patients with a variety of chronic diseases that lack clinically effective therapies. This constantly evolving field draws from the strengths of multidisciplinary approaches including biology, chemistry, physics, bioengineering, and material science to develop novel approaches for stem cell therapy and tissue regeneration. The exponential growth in research studies covering regenerative medicine has given rise to cell-based treatments for regeneration of skin, nerve, cartilage, cardiac, and other critical organ tissues. This virtual collection provides original research and literature reviews that contribute to the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine by reporting on new strategies with the potential to be fully realized for the treatment of tissues and damaged organs.
by Terry R.J. Lappin, Concise Review Editor of STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.
Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are burgeoning branches of translational research which have the potential to heal damaged tissues and organs. These selected articles, recently published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, illustrate the range of current investigations and provide valuable insights into this rapidly evolving area of medicine.
Nam et al. (2014) identified xiphoid process-derived chondrocytes as a source of cartilage with properties likely to be useful in reconstruction of elastic cartilage. Shen et al. (2014) showed that intra-articular injection of human meniscus stem/progenitor cells (hMeSPCs) enhanced meniscus regeneration through the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis in a rat model, suggesting a new clinical strategy for meniscus regeneration. Blais and co-workers (2013) describe the characteristics of extensive burns and current treatments including the use of tissue-engineered skin.
In the dental domain, Iohara et al. (2013) describe a novel, safe, and efficacious combinatorial therapy for pulp/dentine regeneration using granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and pulp stem cells, and Monsarrat and colleagues (2014) provide a comprehensive review of value of mesenchymal stromal cells for periodontal regeneration.
A major goal in regenerative medicine is to develop a therapy to ameliorate or even reverse disease progression in chronic heart failure. In an already highly cited paper Koudstaal and colleagues (2013) discuss the status of the cardioregenerative field, summarizing the current knowledge of cardiac stem/progenitor cells as the regenerative substrate in the adult heart, and their use in preclinical and clinical studies to repair the injured myocardium. Cantero Peral and collaborators (2015) demonstrate that autologous umbilical cord mononuclear cells (UCB-MNCs) can be transplanted safely into the right ventricle of juvenile porcine hearts, providing a further stepping stone to advance cell-based therapies towards clinical trials for congenital heart disease.
Among the enabling technologies for cell-based clinical translation, de Windt et al. (2014) review the cell interactions which steer cartilage regeneration, Titmarsh et al. (2014) report on recent developments in microfluidic technology and Barrett et al. (2014) demonstrate that induced pluripotent stem cells can be reliably generated from lymphoblastoid cell lines and have the potential to provide worldwide repositories to generate new human iPSC cell lines for disease modeling, drug discovery and other applications in regenerative medicine.