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Gene therapies for regenerative surgery are getting closer, says review in PRS
Date:5/29/2013

nsferring healthy tissue to the burned area.

But for patients with burns involving larger areas, the lack of suitable tissues for coverage may severely limit the reconstructive options. Using gene techniques to promote growth of specific types of tissues would be a major step forward in the ability to perform truly regenerative surgery.

But Translation from Lab to OR Poses Many Challenges

Several research groups are pursuing gene therapy approaches to regenerate skin, such as using genes to control expression of growth factors involved in skin healing. One small study reported promising results with tissue-engineered products to promote healing of diabetic skin ulcers.

Researchers are also targeting growth factors involved in new bone formation, with promising results in techniques using transplantation of genetically modified donor bone. One study reported clinical benefits using gene therapy to regenerate joint cartilage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Techniques to promote healing of tendons, regeneration of injured nerves, and growth of skin flaps for reconstructive surgery are all being explored.

But despite progress in all of these areas, translating experimental gene therapy methods into regenerative surgery techniques for use in the operating room will remain a difficult challenge. Even after the technical problems are addressed, more work will be needed to develop regenerative surgery techniques that are productive and cost-effective.

"After two decades, regenerative surgery is an adolescent looking forward to growing up," Dr. Giatsidis and coauthors write. "Despite extensive preclinical approaches, translation of gene therapy strategies into clinical trials is still a difficult and expensive process."

So far, the studies of diabetic ulcers and rheumatoid arthritis mentioned above are the only methods to show evidence of clinical effectiveness in human patients. "Even so," the au
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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