医疗旅程

将生物学、材料学、化学和生物工程学等领域的先进成果加以整合,研究新一代革命性医疗设备和给药系统是过去10年来医疗研究领域最重要的课题。实际上,在上述多样化的领域中,研究人员所面临的最重要的挑战也许并不是缺少进展,而是缺少跨学科培训。

组织工程学是一个重要的研究领域,它涉及将哺乳动物细胞(包括干细胞)与聚合物相结合创造出新的组织或器官。据统计,目前国家医疗开支的将近半数都花在治疗组织损失或器官功能失常上。制造新的肝脏、脊髓、心脏、肾脏和其他很多组织或以器官为基础的系统能够大幅度地缩短住院时间、减少痛苦并延长生命。

但摆在人们面前的困难无疑是巨大的。特别是必须找到能够迅速产生大量分化细胞的合适的生物来源。干细胞是具有潜在重要性的潜在生物源,但要实现干细胞的成功应用,必须控制干细胞在分化和生长时所遇到的问题、还需要对抗人类免疫系统的排异反应。

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