Regenerative medicine is a new approach for repairing cells and tissues in the treatment of currently incurable diseases and conditions.
It has the potential to cure hundreds of thousands of Texans suffering from diabetes (both juvenile, type 1, and adult onset, type 2), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig’s disease), blindness, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, strokes, muscular dystrophies, and many other currently incurable, degenerative diseases and conditions.
Biomedical research for regenerative medicine focuses on stem cells — the master cells for human development. Stem cells have three general properties:
- They are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods.
- They are undifferentiated.
- They can give rise to specialized cell types.
Stem cell research includes:
- Adult stem cells, including umbilical cord blood stem cells.
- Stem cells derived from donated in vitro fertilized eggs from fertility clinics that would otherwise be discarded.
- Stem cells derived from a laboratory procedure known as Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT).
- Embryonic stem cell lines approved by President Bush prior to August 9, 2001 for federally funded research.