DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’ve been hearing a lot about regenerative medicine lately. What is it exactly, and what can it be used for?
Regenerative medicine is an emerging discipline in medicine and surgery focused on finding ways to boost the body’s ability to heal itself. It examines new therapies and advances new ways to manage diseases that go beyond current medical treatment. Regenerative medicine is really poised to revolutionize disease management, offering potential solutions throughout a person’s life for a spectrum of diseases.
Today, treatment for many diseases focuses on managing symptoms. For example, insulin therapy keeps diabetes under control. Dialysis does the work of a failing kidney. Medications ease the strain on a damaged heart. In contrast, the aim of regenerative medicine is to reverse the course of the disease by targeting its root cause and repairing diseased, injured, or defective tissues and organs to restore their function and structure.