The field of regenerative biology aims to elucidate how organisms repair and replace missing cells, tissues and structures. It encompasses aspects of stem cell biology, wound healing, tissue homeostasis, aging, and developmental patterning. Regenerative biologists are interested in how and why regeneration succeeds in spectacular fashion like the regeneration of a newt limb, but they also explore why it fails in contexts like a human heart attack. Common animal models to study regeneration are hydra, planarians, insects like fruit flies, fish, salamanders, frogs, and mice.
Regenerative medicine seeks to replace lost, damaged or diseased tissue with new, healthy tissue, through procedures not requiring organ donation and transplantation. Strategies over the past two decades have focused on potential therapies involving introduction of cells into patients. However, tapping into natural regeneration programs and boosting the endogenous capacity of tissue to regenerate or rejuvenate is a key goal for the field today. Thus, discoveries made by regenerative biologists can illuminate applications for regenerative medicine relevant to victims of heart failure, brain and spinal cord trauma, osteoarthritis, or diabetes.
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