Regeneration therapy

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Regeneration therapy is a therapy for stimulating the regrowth of an amputated or destroyed body part. It goes beyond wound healing (which implies that normal skin grows over the wound site) by requiring reconstruction of a missing structure, such as a limb.

Instead of waiting for natural regeneration, which for adult humans is very limited, regeneration therapy seeks to endow humans (and other animals of interest to humans) with the regeneration capabilities of lower animals like salamanders. A more moderate aim can be expressed as giving adults the regeneration capabilities of young children.

The term regeneration therapy is often (seen in e.g. a Google search) used about tissue regeneration which doesn't involve regrowth of a body part - such as regenerating the beta cells in Langerhans islets for curing diabetes. This interpretation, not in accordance with regeneration in biology, is not the subject of this article.


The therapy

The first prerequisite for regenerative growth is: The wound should be open - not covered with skin or fibrous tissues, as this would prevent regenerative growth. Debridement implies removing surgically any such covering.

The second prerequisite is the availability of a blastema containing undifferentiated cells from which the body part can grow.

There are alternative methods for stimulating regrowth:

Stem cell therapy

Stem cell therapy implies injecting artificially cultivated stem cells in the blastema. As regrowth entails body part enlargement, an artificial matrix is often needing for tissue scaffolding.

Electrochemical stimulation methods

There are at least two methods for stimulating regeneration:

Tissue scaffolding is not required with these methods.


The regeneration gap - an article in Nature (in 2001)

Electrical stimulation of partial limb regeneration in mammals (Bull N Y Acad Med. 1972)

See also

Regeneration (biology)

Stem cell therapy

Tissue engineering

Current of injury