Regenerative Medicine: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

"We’re emerging from our adolescence." --Alan Russell

Today, the field of regenerative medicine is barely three decades old. During this time, developments in this area of research have been many in Pittsburgh. With its research programs focused on medical devices and artificial organs, tissue engineering and biomaterials, and cellular therapies, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s Director, Alan Russell, PhD, says, “We’re emerging from our adolescence.”

In a recent interview, Dr. Russell explained the key word in the regenerative medicine research process is “patience.” He cautions that we should not try to convince ourselves that the cures for all diseases are but 3 to 5 years away. He also notes that the progression of research is not always a step-by-step upward process. He feels our children’s children—they will be the benefactors of the science.

In almost 30 years, the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine has made significant milestones. Research is now being performed around the world. Governments and private organizations are funding tomorrow’s medicine today. The educational system is planning for changes in curriculums to address how regenerative medicine will be taught in medical schools in the future. These are all very exciting developments and are all happening today, positioning the field in a good place for tomorrow.

Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

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University of Pittsburgh University Times (07/12/07)