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Regenerative medicine remains one of the great challenges of clinical practice. Many of the world’s leading pathological processes, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and traumatic injuries, could be alleviated by regenerative medicine. For example, new methods for pancreatic endocrine cells regeneration can be used to treat diabetes, tissue engineering therapy can help in coronary artery disease, and novel nervous tissue regeneration technologies can be utilized in stroke treatment. Effective biomaterials for tissue regeneration will, therefore, find applications in practically every clinical discipline. Regenerative medicine has the potential to improve patient outcomes, lower the incidence of complications, reduce hospital stays, enable cost-effective treatments, and lessen morbidity and mortality.
Organ-on-a-chip-systems provide a promising model to predict pharmacokinetic response in vitro. Thus, they may offer an alternative to animal experiments for testing the toxicity and efficacy of pharmaceuticals in the future. An organ-on-a-chip is in particular a microfluidic cell culture device that simulates the physiological response of organs to drugs and metabolites in vitro. It contains continuously perfused compartments with living cells that enable the analysis of biochemical, mechanical and metabolic processes. Research should focus on the development, validation and optimization of such systems. Extensions to multi-compartment devices simulating multiple organs that allow predicting the systemic effect of drugs on the human body (“human-on-a-chip”) will be encouraged.
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