From the Latin: re- – again, generare – procreate, generate
Literally, regeneration means “reproduction”. In medicine, this term refers to the functional and morphological regeneration of damaged tissue or an organ by reformation of cells.
Regeneration can be complete (“restitutio ad integrum”) or incomplete (“reparatio”).
The regeneration capacity of human tissue is determined by the capacity of their cells to divide. With increasing differentiation of cells the regeneration capacity of tissue decreases. Highly specialized myocardial cells and nerve cells cannot divide any more. That leads to defective cures after injuries of the heart and brain. Blood cells and epithelial cells are however continuously formed newly due to less differentiated progenitor cells.
The term “Reparatio” in medicine refers to the healing of a disease, in which the tissue damage is replaced by scar or granulation tissue.
“Restitutio ad integrum” is distinct from “reparatio”, in which a complete restoration of the tissue function takes place without lasting damage.
Healing refers to the biological process of recovery from a disease and / or a pathological change in tissue towards a healthy original condition. The healing process is based on endogenous repair mechanisms that can be facilitated, supported and also accelerated by a therapist’s measures.
The complete cure without permanent scars or damages refers to “restitutio ad integrum”, while the reparation healing (defective healing) takes place by definition with remaining damages.
The regenerative medicine has become an integral part in the treatment of the most different medical conditions. It promises new possibilities in the treatment of diseases or their effects that were difficult or impossible to treat.
The principles of the regenerative medicine are successfully applied e.g. in stem cell transplantation already for over forty years for treating leukemia and lymphomas. Along with the transplantation of stem cells, regenerative medicine deals with endogenous regeneration. Thereby, endogenous cells are used to trigger self-regeneration processes. They can be stem cells as well as progenitor cells specific to tissues, immune cells or their mediators.
The regenerative medicine offers new therapy options across the medical specialties. The main focus is on the regeneration of connective tissue, muscles, cartilage, skin, nerves, liver, heart as well as the targeted regeneration of the immune system.
Even today, the regenerative medicine has become an integral part in the treatment of orthopedic medical conditions. At the center stage is the regeneration of tissue structures through biological methods using cell therapy, growth factors and autologous blood products.