Jeremy Mao, Ph.D., D.D.S.
Edwin S. Robinson Professor of Dentistry
Co-Director, Center for Craniofacial Regeneration
Biomaterial needs for stem cell homing
Regeneration of tissues that function as native replacements remains to be broadly realized. A common approach for tissue regeneration is cell delivery, including stem cells that are transplanted directly or as committed tissue progenitors. However, cell based therapy encounters several barriers in translation towards clinical therapeutics. Immune rejection, pathogen transmission, potential tumorigenesis, packaging/storage/shipping, and anticipated difficulties in clinical adoption, cost reimbursement and regulatory approval are among some of the roadblocks. Economic viability of cell delivery, especially if it requires substantial ex vivo cell manipulation, is far from trivial. I will present emerging data from my laboratory and others in several recent reports that chemotactic cell homing is responses for the regeneration of multiple and, in some cases, complex tissues, such as dermal, muscle, dental, cardiac, cartilage and bone. These data suggest an emerging concept that single or complex tissues can regenerate by the homing of endogenous cell lineages and potentially without cell transplantation. A multitude of approaches will be discussed to orchestrate cell homing including active recruitment of host endogenous cells by chemokines, cytokines, drugs, polymeric materials and bioengineering models. Information on the mechanisms of cell homing will be explored primarily by in vitro studies of cell migration, cell recruitment and cell motility in 2D and 3D models. Endogenous stem cells may accelerate clinical application of stem cell technology.