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Twenty years of Tissue Engineering Heart Valves: More Hype than Hope - Essay Example

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The 21st century has seen a great deal in the field of biological sciences, which has redefined progress and revolutionised the manner in which products are engineered, as specifically observed in cases of tissue engineering and medical implants…
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Twenty years of Tissue Engineering Heart Valves: More Hype than Hope
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Download file to see previous pages In the last two decades from being a mere technology, tissue engineering has now evolved into a branch of regenerative biological sciences, since it currently includes regeneration and repair of body organs and tissues, along with replacement. Amongst various therapies, heart therapy has the potential to benefit significantly from advancement in tissue engineering (Lanza and Vacanti, 2007). This includes securing effective treatment for heart failure, and reversing permanent myocardial damage, where therapies using tissue-engineering promises to improve quality of life for thousands of heart patients. A study of the various scholarly contributions in the last two decades that conceptualised the multidisciplinary approach towards study of regenerative medicine (that includes tissue engineering), reveals widely varying focuses, perspectives and diagnoses that differ according to the time of the research conducted. This is natural and similar to the routes taken by various emerging subjects at different times (like biotechnology and pharmaceutical studies), where one must necessarily follow a regular pattern of practice through trial and error within methodologies and experiments. Hence, an emerging subject like tissue engineering becomes prone to constant modifications, before deriving scientifically proved hypotheses, which gives an assurance of effective practical use that would benefit medical sciences. Here the basic question that comes to the forefront is whether tissue engineering, which is still in a relatively fledgling state where the subject is still being conceptualised with more instances of failure than success, can be of ‘hope’ to millions of patients across the world (Citron and Nerem, 2004). Despite failures and critical claims of the procedure being more of ‘hype’ than actual ‘hope,’ the expected benefits (as and when they start arriving) from tissue engineering still remain high, and is seen by many clinical experts as being revolutionary in nature with positive implications for future implant patients (ibid). This paper will critically review the process of tissue engineering in relation to heart valves, and analyse the available literature to derive that after 20 years, tissue engineering, despite contentions that it is an over-hyped process, still holds out significant hope for millions of heart patients worldwide. Discussion Technique of Tissue engineering Regenerative medicine refers to a clinical process that aims at generating substitutes that make scope for remodelling of organs and/or tissues in cases of deformities (developmental or from birth, or after an injury or some disease that may have caused deformities in a patient) (Lysaght and Hazelhurst, 2004). The remodelling of the damaged tissue or organ can be affected through tissue engineering or cell therapy (using pharmaceutical mechanisms or via concurrent gene transfer, or through sole use of gene therapy) (Lysaght and Hazelhurst, 2004). A study of the processes shows that in cell therapy a group of cells is introduced into the affected parts of a patient’s body to repair, improve or replace the deformed cell population. As for example, various researchers have shown that in case of advanced Parkinson’s disease, infusion of AAV2-GAD into the patient’s subthalamic nucleus holds promise for curing the disorder a certain extent, thus ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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