Glossary of Regenerative Medicine Terms

  • Animal model: A laboratory animal that is used to express symptoms of a human disease for the purpose of testing experimental medical treatments.
  • Artificial organ: A device that performs the function of a natural organ, such as an artificial heart or ventricular assist device, artificial liver, and artificial lung.
  • Cell therapy: The administration of genetically engineered cells, healthy donor cells, or a patient's own stem cells as a part of medical treatment.
  • Chronic wound: An injury that does not completely heal. Chronic wounds are common in patients with diabetes and other conditions that impair healing capacity.
  • Clinical practice: Treatments and procedures performed by doctors.
  • Clinical translation: The process of taking a treatment that has been proven in the laboratory to testing in human volunteers.
  • Clinical trial: A test of a new medical treatment or procedure in human volunteers.
  • Gene therapy: The insertion of a new gene into cells in order to replace a defective gene that is causing a disease.
  • Regenerative medicine: A field that includes the study and development of artificial organs, specially-grown tissues and cells (including stem cells), laboratory-made compounds, and combinations of these approaches for the treatment of injuries and disease.
  • Scaffold: A material that spans a healing wound and provides structure for young cells as they grow into mature tissue.
  • Scar tissue: A type of connective tissue that results from the normal healing process. Scar tissue is not as elastic or as strong as normal, uninjured tissue.
  • SIS (small intestinal submucosa): A scaffold used to help heal chronic wounds, repair hernias, or form a sling for the bladder as a treatment for urinary incontinence. SIS is constructed from naturally-occurring material and is harmlessly absorbed by the body as healthy new tissue grows in to replace it.
  • Stem cell: An immature cell from which more specialized cells and tissues grow, or “stem.”
  • Tissue engineering: A field of inquiry and research that combines cell biology, engineering, and biochemistry to help replace, repair, or regrow injured or diseased tissues.
  • Ventricular assist device: A small pump that takes over some of the heart’s job of pumping blood.

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