Regenerative medicine therapies — a branch of tissue engineering and molecular biology involving replacing, re-engineering or regenerating human cells to restore function — could be ready to break out.

Deepak Srivastava, the president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, recently told the LA Times that the field had reached a “real inflection point” with hundreds of in-human clinical trials under way for a raft of diseases.

It followed a meeting of leading stem cell researchers in Los Angeles late last month to discuss a “future without human disease”, Emily Baumgaertner wrote.

Srivastava says stem cells are a game-changer for “how we approach human disease”, such as utilising them in the treatment of sickle cell anemia.

“We can now take a teaspoon of blood from any adult with the disease and rewind their blood cells back in time, into cells that behave just like an embryonic stem cell,” he said.

“Then we can use gene-editing tools to try to correct genetic mutations that might be causing the disease, convert the cells back into mature cells, and return them to the patient through a simple blood transfusion.

“Many people talk about the semiconductor being the dominant discovery in the last 50 years. Now, many think biotech will be the major driver of advancements in the coming 50 years.

“California promises to be an epicenter for that.”

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