Regrowing Damaged Body Parts: How One Australian-listed Company is Making it Accessible
Osteopore, an Australian and Singapore based leader in regenerative implants on a commercial scale, is developing technology that enables widespread adoption of tissue engineering. Despite the global average life expectancy rising by more than 6 years between 1999 to 2000, the average number of years spent in good health over the same period does not reflect this increase, according to the WHO. To reduce this gap, many turn to tissue engineering to push the boundaries of traditional medicine.
Challenges in Tissue Engineering
Growing organs outside the body, then putting it back inside to ultimately improve your health and change your life — almost seems unreal. This technique is called in-vitro tissue engineering: functionally mature tissue structures are recreated in a bioreactor to replace tissue in the body. It sounds futuristic, but it is becoming reality.
However, in-vitro tissue engineering must overcome a number of concerns before it can be clinically implemented and commercialised.
Finding enough cells that are acceptable to our immune system is not simple. There are also challenges in terms of the availability and scaling-up capability of in-vitro tissue engineering. Cost-effectiveness, preservation and handling also present problems.
The Two Techniques in Tissue Engineering
At Osteopore, we have developed and commercialised a more direct way of applying tissue engineering concepts to achieve clinical impact. Rather than implanting cells or organs into a body from an external source, in-situ tissue engineering recruits endogenous stem cells (cells created within the living organism) to the site of an injury by using biomaterial with 3D microarchitecture and/or growth-factor-based cues to enhance healing.
With in-situ tissue engineering, we are looking at medical products that interface with blood, blood vessels and cells — working in proposed harmony with your body’s natural functions. By doing so, we harness the intrinsic regenerative potential of the body to regrow tissue, as opposed to creating it wholesale in an in-vitro environment.
A recent study by the Biomedical Engineering Society www.bmes.org looked closely at the differences between in-vitro and in-situ tissue engineering, finding in-situ tissue engineering represents a promising new avenue of regenerative therapy research.
In-situ tissue engineering represents the future; not only for Osteopore but potentially for the medical devices industry as a whole because it is less onerous from a regulatory standpoint, it is a more scalable and cost-effective solution, it is a more familiar process to the surgical community, and it has favourable long-term, lasting impacts.
Learn more about the differences between these two techniques in our full article here: