Tissue Repair and Regeneration

Deregulation of normal tissue repair has dramatic consequences for life quality and survival of patients. Together, insufficient healing (chronic wounds) and excessive repair after injury (scarring/fibrosis) cause healthcare costs reaching tens of billions of dollars per year in the US alone. Chronic and fibrotic healing occurs when the body’s own repair capacity is either impaired or overwhelmed. One approach in regenerative medicine is to replace injured, diseased or aged tissues with functional tissue equivalents. This approach is challenged by adverse host reactions that are part of the body repair program, e.g., immune, inflammatory, and fibrotic responses. Thus, regenerative medicine increasingly considers to support the adult's body's own regenerative capacities to promote closure of wounds that never heal and to keep excessive repair at bay. However, it is still unclear why humans lost regenerative capacity during evolution, whereas lower organisms can regenerate whole organs.

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