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Warren Grayson, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins, discusses the importance of stem cell-based regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues. He also describes his work pioneering the future of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.


Typically when your bone breaks, if the defects are only minimal to scale, that's going to heal on its own. And so what we're really interested in doing is to understand how do you get to larger scaffolds for the defects that really aren't able to heal. My lab focuses primarily on bone and skeletal muscle tissue engineering. Both of these suits heal remarkably well, but once the damage is too large, then they're no longer able to heal on their own, and so this is kind of where we step in to try to provide stem cells on scaffolds to help those tissues to regenerate. The 3-D printing is a very versatile tool. A lot of the bones within the face are very irregular in shape and they are also unique to each patient. We can take those images and convert them into files so we could actually 3-D print scaffolds that have the exact geometry as a patient's original bone. And we use that to regenerate their own bone structures. A team of surgeons and engineers can plan exactly how it is we are going to treat this patient, predictively. What size of scaffold do we need? How many cells? And we can use that together with our computational models and work out a treatment strategy for each and every patient. Tissue engineering, in spite of the fact that it's been around for 20 years, it's still relatively early on. The way that we treat patients is still pretty much the same as it was 20 years ago. But I think here, what we have are people with a vision and the expertise to change that. Within the next 20 years, you are going to see patients who are treated with their own stem cells. We are gonna see patients who came in with large defects in the muscle, and large defects in the bone who are going to leave and have regenerated functional bone and functional muscle.

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Learn more about Warren Grayson's research in musculoskeletal regeneration, and how you can be a part of it.

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