The new standard for healing and repair is tissue regeneration. The goal of tissue regeneration is to repair and replace damaged or diseased tissue with healthy tissue—healthy tissue that is fully functional, with limited or no scar tissue, and that as closely as possible replicates the pre-injury or pre-diseased tissue. Human biomaterials—such as stem cells, placenta membranes and platelet rich plasma (PRP)—have the potential to steer healing towards tissue regeneration.
Tissue repair is essential to our survival, but is one of the most complex biological processes our bodies perform. Following injuries or diseases, our bodies must kill off any infection, remove damaged and dying cells, and grow healthy replacement tissue, all at the same time.[3-5] Tissue regeneration involves many different repair cell types, such as stem cells, platelets, and white blood cells. However, the ability to regenerate tissues declines with age and systemic diseases, especially as stem cells reduce in number or do not function properly.[6-9] Fortunately, human biomaterials can significantly enhance tissue regeneration. Some therapies using human biomaterials provide more tissue repair cells, such as stem cell and PRP therapies, while others work by just supporting the repair cells already present, like placenta membrane treatments. Overall, human biomaterials can provide more repair cells, a cellular frame for growth and a barrier to prevent infection. They also change the cells’ microenvironments to support faster and more tissue regeneration, not just repair slowly with scar tissue. A striking example of the potential to enhance tissue regeneration with human biomaterials is ulcer treatments. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers compared the healing of placenta membrane tissue wound dressings and plant-based wound dressings. After six weeks, 95% of the patients with the placenta membrane tissue dressings achieved complete wound closure and, on average, healed in 13 days. Only 35% patients using the plant-based dressings achieved complete wound closure after six weeks and, on average, healed in 49 days.
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- Broughton 2nd, G., J.E. Janis, and C.E. Attinger, The basic science of wound healing. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 2006. 117(7 Suppl): p. 12S-34S.
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- Schultz, G.S., et al., Dynamic reciprocity in the wound microenvironment. Wound Repair and Regeneration, 2011. 19(2): p. 134-148.
- Brem, H. and M. Tomic-Canic, Cellular and molecular basis of wound healing in diabetes. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2007. 117(5): p. 1219.